Food Safety During Outages
Do you know what foods are safe to keep and what foods should be tossed after a power outage?
Here are additional suggestions from www.FoodSafety.gov.
Food Safety During Outages
If your power goes out, keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. When left unopened, your fridge should be able to keep its contents cold for about 4 hours and your freezer for 24-48 hours, depending on how full it is. As a rule of thumb, you should discard any perishable foods that have been stored above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours.
Hard cheeses, like cheddar or swiss, are safe to keep in brick form. Soft cheeses and hard cheeses that have been shredded should be tossed if they were kept above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours or longer. Grated cheese, like canned parmesan, is safe to hang on to.
Any meat, poultry or seafood that has been held at more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or longer should be discarded. This includes raw meat, cooked meat, open cans of meat or seafood, lunch meats, tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, and any foods cooked with meats like casseroles, soups, stews, or pizzas, according to FoodSafety.gov
Butter and margarine are safe to keep. All other dairy products should be tossed if they have been held at more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours or longer.
All eggs and egg products that have been held at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, for 2 hours or more, should be discarded.
Many kitchen staples will survive a power outage. Peanut butter and jelly, relish, mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire and barbecue sauce are all safe, as are vinegar-based salad dressing.
These items should be discarded if they are open and are held at 50 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer for more than 8 hours:
- Jars of tomato sauce
- Cream-based salad dressings
- Fish sauces
- Tartar sauce
Whole fruit is safe to keep unrefrigerated. Cut fruit should be tossed after spending 2 or more hours at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.
Prepared bread, rolls, muffins, cakes, tortillas and bagels are safe to hang on to.
If the contents of your refrigerator reach a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours, toss any cooked pasta or pasta salads, cooked rice, refrigerated breads and cookie dough, and toss any homemade fresh pasta.
Fruit pies are safe to keep, but cream or custard-filled pies and pastries should be tossed.
Raw herbs and vegetables are safe to keep in their whole form. If your refrigerator warms to more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours, anything pre-cut, washed and packaged should be tossed, along with open jars of vegetable juice, potato salads, baked potatoes, leftover cooked vegetables and foods containing them like casseroles, soups and stews.
Thawed or partially frozen food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals, or is still below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
We recommend keeping an appliance thermometer in your freezer. That way, when the power comes back on you can check the temperature to know quickly whether your food is still safe.