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Power Outage

Power Outage

What should I do to keep my food safe during a power outage?

Keep the doors to the refrigerator and freezer closed. Every time a door is opened the cold air escapes.

How long will my food stay safe?

  • Keep an appliance thermometer in then refrigerator and freezer at all times to remove the guesswork of how cold food is.
  • Food in the refrigerator is safe to eat if it is at 40°F or below. Generally, refrigerated foods should be safe as long as power is out no more than four hours.
  • Food in the freezer portion of a refrigerator-freezer should stay frozen for up to a day if the door is closed.
  • A separate free-standing chest or upright freezer will keep food frozen solid for two days if it is fully loaded. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for a day, especially if the food has been grouped together.

What should I do after the power comes back on?

  • Discard refrigerated food that is warmer than 40°F.
  • If frozen food thaws but stays at 40°F or colder, cook or refreeze them as soon as possible.
  • Do not taste food that you think might be bad.
  • Throw food away based on temperature – not the way it looks or smells.
  • If you have questions, Throw the food out!
  • Thoroughly clean the inside of the refrigerator and/or freezer after spoiled or thawed foods are taken out with soap and water and then with a bleach solution.

It's winter and my power is out. Can I store my perishable foods outside in the cold?

Storing food outside is potentially dangerous and is not recommended.

  • If the food is exposed to the sun's rays, there could be melting of frozen foods and refrigerated foods could become too warm.
  • The temperature outside is variable and if the temperature is cold enough to keep frozen foods frozen, it is too cold for refrigerated foods.
  • Food stored outside is exposed to unsanitary conditions and to animals that pass by.

If you have questions, call the Scott County Health Department.

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