How long is food safe during power outage

Open Refrigerator with Assortment of Food and Beverages

More than a million Georgia residents are currently without power in the wake of Irma. With more winds and rain expected through this evening, GA Power says the restoration work could take several days if not weeks.

For those stuck in this situation, that means the safety of your food is critical. Refrigerators and freezers can only stay cold for a limited time. So how do you know what is safe?

According to the USDA, here are 3 things you should keep in mind:

  1. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Refrigerators will only keep food safe for about 4 hours unopened, but a full freezer could potentially last two days if you keep it closed. (Only one day if it’s half full.)
  2. If your refrigerator hits temperatures above 40 degrees for more than 2 hours, it’s time to start throwing things out. All meats,  poultry, and seafood must go. Most cheeses, dairy and egg products will be unsafe as well. However, raw fruits and vegetables will still be good.
  3. Should power return, you can safely refreeze many foods in your freezer as long as they still contain ice crystals and feel as cold as if refrigerated. But do not refreeze ice cream or frozen yogurt.

For more detailed information, we suggest you visit the USDA’s website on “Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency”.