You may have lost power last night, so here are some tips you’ll want to know.
According to University Of Illinois:
Food: What to Do When the Power Goes Out
Spring storms and tornadoes can cause power outages. How do you keep food safe in the refrigerator and freezer? The following information will help you decide what to do.
- If you live in an area where power loss is a problem, you must be prepared.
- Find out where to buy block ice and dry ice.
- Keep canned goods and shelf stable foods on hand.
- Buy a cooler. Buy freezer packs and keep them frozen.
- Make an emergency plan with friends in a nearby area.
When the power goes out, check the time. It is important to know how long your power has been out. Food in the refrigerator will stay safe for a few hours. Opening the refrigerator door lets cold air out and warm air in. Do not open and close the door to check food.
Even if the food looks and smells fine, it may not be safe to eat. Bacteria that causes food poisoning does not make food look any different. It will not smell bad or look funny. If the food has been warm, above 40 degrees, for more than two hours throw it away. Do not taste the food to see if it is still good.
If there is space in the freezer, transfer as much food as possible to the freezer. Use block ice in the refrigerator. Place the ice on a tray or pan in the refrigerator. The ice will help to keep the refrigerator cool for about a day.
Food in the refrigerator/freezer will stay frozen for about a day. Food in a freestanding freezer will stay frozen longer. A full freezer will keep food frozen for about two days. A half-full freezer for about one day. Food will stay frozen longer if the door is not constantly opened and closed.
If your freezer is not full, rearrange it. Group all the frozen packages together. Separate meat from fruits and vegetables. The packages will stay frozen longer if there is no air space between them. Use crumpled newspaper to fill in the spaces. Use dry ice in the freezer. Cover the entire freezer with blankets.
Be careful when handling dry ice. Use gloves; do not let it touch bare skin. It will cause severe skin damage. Do not inhale the fumes. A 25 pound block of dry ice will keep food frozen for days. A full 10-cubic freezer should hold for three to four days.
Thawed fruits and vegetables can be refrozen. Raw meat that still has some ice crystals can be refrozen. Meat that is still cold can be refrozen too. It may suffer some quality loss, but it is safe to eat. Discard any cooked food that has come in contact with raw meat juices.
Use the attached chart to judge what to keep or discard. Remember, when in doubt throw it out.
Refrigerator Food – Power Outages
|Dairy||Food still cold at 40°F
or above for under 2 hours
|Held above 40°F
for over 2 hours
|Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt||Safe||Discard|
|Baby formula, opened||Safe||Discard|
|Eggs, fresh, Hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes||Safe||Discard|
|Custard and puddings||Safe||Discard|
|Hard cheeses, processed cheeses||Safe||Safe|
|Soft cheeses, cottage cheese||Safe||Discard|
|Meat, Poultry, Seafood|
|Fresh or leftover meat, poultry, fish||Safe||Discard|
|Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, egg salad||Safe||Discard|
|Lunchmeats, hotdogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef||Safe||Discard|
|Pizza – meat topped||Safe||Discard|
|Canned meats (Not labeled “Keep Refrigerated”)||Safe||Discard|
|Canned hams labeled “Keep Refrigerated”||Safe||Discard|
|Thawing meat or poultry||Safe||Discard if warmer than refrigerator temperatures.|
|Casseroles, soups, stews||Safe||Discard|
|Fruit juices, opened||Safe||Discard|
|Canned fruits, opened||Safe||Discard|
|Fresh fruits, coconut, raisins, dried fruits, candied fruits, dates||Safe||Safe|
|Vegetables cooked, vegetable juice, opened||Safe||Discard after 6 hours.|
|Fresh mushrooms, herbs and spice||Safe||Safe|
|Garlic, chopped in oil or butter||Safe||Discard|
|Pasteries, cream filled||Safe||Discard|
|Pies – custard, cheese filled or chiffons||Safe||Discard|
|Bread, Cakes, Cookies, Pasta|
|Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads||Safe||Safe|
|Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough||Safe||Discard|
|Cooked pasta, spaghetti||Safe||Discard|
|Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinegar base||Safe||Discard|
|Sauces, Spreads, Jams|
|Mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish||Safe||Discard if above 50°F for over 8 hours.|
Frozen Food – When to Save and When to Throw Out
|Dairy||Still contains ice crystals and
feels as cold as if refrigerated
|Thawed. Held above
40°F for over 2 hours.
|Eggs (out of shell) and egg products||Refreeze||Discard|
|Ice cream, frozen yogurt||Discard||Discard|
|Soft and semi-soft cheeses (cream cheese, ricotta)||Refreeze. May lose some texture.||Discard|
|Hard cheeses (cheddar, swiss, parmesan)||Refreeze||Refreeze|
|Casseroles containing milk, cream cheese, soft cheeses||Refreeze||Discard|
|Meat, Poultry, Seafood|
|Beef, veal, lamb, pork, ground meats||Refreeze||Discard|
|Poultry, ground poultry||Refreeze||Discard|
|Variety meats (liver, kidney, heart, chitterlings)||Refreeze||Discard|
|Casseroles, stews, soups, convenience foods, pizza||Refreeze||Discard|
|Fish, shellfish, breaded seafood products||Refreeze. However there will be some texture and flavor loss.||Discard|
|Juices||Refreeze||Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell or sliminess develops.|
|Home or commercially packaged||Refreeze. Will change in texture and flavor.||Same as above|
|Juices||Refreeze||Discard after held above 40OF for 6 hours.|
|Home or commercially packaged or blanched||Refreeze. May suffer texture and flavor loss.||Same as above|
|Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes with custard fillings||Refreeze||Refreeze|
|Cakes, pies, pastries with custard or cheese fillings||Refreeze||Discard|
|Commercial and homemade bread dough||Refreeze. Some quality loss may occur.||Refreeze. Considerable quality loss|
|Casseroles – pasta or rice based||Refreeze||Discard|
|Flour, cornmeal, nuts||Refreeze||Refreeze|