Protecting Your Food During an Outage
If your power goes out, knowing what to do with the food in your refrigerator and freezer can help you to stay healthy.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends you take three steps to keep your food safe during a power outage:
- Make sure you have appliance thermometers in the refrigerator and freezer;
- Know where you can get dry ice or block ice; and
- Keep a few days worth of ready-to-eat foods that don’t require cooking or cooling, such as canned goods.
If you do experience a power outage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that you keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. In addition, consider:
- Transferring your food to a cooler and fill it with ice or frozen gel packs if your power is off longer than four hours;
- Keeping your freezer fully stocked, as a packed freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full); and
- Placing food in the back of the freezer. Food items in the front, in the door, or in small packaging will defrost faster.
Refer to the USDA’s Refrigerated Food and Power Outages: When to Save and When to Throw Out for food safety during a power outage, including what items you may need to throw away because of a prolonged outage.
Source: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)