As Power Returns – Is Your Refrigerated Food Safe?

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

As power is being restored to many areas, it is important to know if your refrigerated food is still safe. Even if food does not look or smell spoiled, it may still be unsafe to eat.

A closed refrigerator will keep food below 41°F only about 4 hours after a power loss. A closed freezer can keep food below 41°F for up to 48 hours if full and kept cold. A number of factors will influence this including opening of the door, the quality of your appliance and even how and what items are stored. The only way to know for sure is to use a food thermometer to check.

Please refer to the When the Power Is Out – When to Save Refrigerated Food and When to Throw It Out or When the Power is Out – When to Refreeze Frozen Food and When to Throw It Out factsheets for more information on specific foods and times.

It is important to remember that any food that comes in contact with flood waters should also be considered unsafe.

Extension Factsheet attach_file

When the Power Is Out - When to Refreeze Frozen Food and When to Throw It Out

This factsheet offers information on which frozen foods can be safely refrozen after an extended power outage.

Extension Factsheet attach_file

When the Power Is Out - When to Save Refrigerated Food and When to Throw It Out

This factsheet offers information on which refrigerated foods to discard when the power is out for an extended period.

Updated on Oct 11, 2016
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close
This page can also be accessed from: go.ncsu.edu/readext?429465