Food Safety after a Power Outage

Here are some guidelines to follow for food in your fridge and freezer after a power outage.

Safety of food in your fridge 

Food in your fridge should be safe as long as power is back on within a few hours. After that you may have to throw out most foods.

Food to throw out

You cannot tell by looking or smelling if food is OK to eat. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been in the fridge for too long without electricity or at room temperature for more than two hours, you can get foodborne illness.  Do not taste food to see if it is safe

If your fridge is above 4 C (40 F) for more than two hours, throw out:

  • Non-vacuum packed deli meats or cold cuts
  • Soft cheeses
  • Wieners or hot dogs
  • Cooked food such as pasta, casseroles, stew, baked potatoes
  • Raw ground meat such as beef, pork, and chicken
  • Fish and seafood unless it is smoked, cured or pickled
  • Eggs
  • Milk, cream, yogurt
  • Opened baby formula
  • Garlic in oil or butter

If your fridge is above 4 C (40 F) for more than four hours, throw out:

  • Hard cheeses
  • Solid pieces of meat such as steaks or roasts

Safety of food in your freezer

Keep your freezer closed if the power goes out. Do not open the door or lid. A full freezer will stay at freezing temperature for two days; a half-full freezer for about one day. Frozen food can be refrozen if there are still ice crystals. Some foods may lose flavour but they will be safe to eat.

If your freezer is not full you can put food from your fridge into your freezer to keep those foods cold. Do it quickly and shut the door or lid right away. 

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