Food Safety and Power Outages


Keeping your food safe while the Power is Out . . .

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
    • Note: The refrigeratorwill keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
    • Note: A full freezerwill keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. It’s a good idea to have an appliance thermometer in the freezer.

  • Buy dry or block iceto keep the refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep an 18 cubic foot, fully stocked freezer cold for two days.


    • If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish, or eggs while they are still at safe temperatures, it is important that each item is thoroughly cooked to a safe minimum internal temperatureto ensure that any foodborne bacteria that may be present are destroyed. However, if at any point the food was above 40º F for 2 hours or more (or 1 hour if temperatures are above 90 º F) — discard it.


Food Safety Once the Power is Restored . . . determine the safety of your food


    • If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperaturewhen the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40° F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.


    • If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each packageof food to determine its safety. You can not rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40° F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.


  • Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hoursand the refrigerator door was kept shut. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or leftovers) that has been at temperatures above 40° F for 2 hours or more (or 1 hour if temperatures are above 90º F).

NOTE: Perishable food such as seafood, meat, poultry, milk, eggs etc that are not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen may cause serious illness if consumed, even when they are thoroughly cooked. When in doubt throw it out!

For more information about fitting your house with a generator contact Academy Electrical Contractors