The power has gone out in your home, meaning the food in your fridge and freezer might be subject to spoilage. Most foods remain just fine so long as the outage does not last more than four hours and you are not constantly opening and shutting the appliance. If you are not sure what to keep and what to throw out following an outage or if you want to know how to prevent spoilage, review the following tips and tricks to ensure the next power issue in your home does not result in food poisoning.
The 40 Degrees F Rule
Let it be known: If perishable foods such as meat, dairy products, fish, and leftovers have been kept in temperatures above 40 degrees F for two hours or more, throw them out. Never, ever taste food to determine if it is safe or not, and throw away anything that has made contact with raw meat juices.
In terms of dairy products, most hard cheeses, grated cheeses, and butter are safe so long as you don’t open your fridge 50 times.
The 24/48-Hour Freezer Rule
A freezer that is half full will stay cold for up to 24 hours. One that is completely full will hold for about 48 hours.
Coolers and Ice Chests
If you know a power outage will be occurring in your area, invest in a few coolers, assuming you don’t already own them. Fill them with recently-purchased ice and use them to pack perishable foods. Surround important food items such as the aforementioned perishable products with ice to keep them edible.
Should the power outage last more than a day, pack another cooler featuring the items from your freezer. You may also want to consider purchasing dry or block ice if you expect a long power outage.
What have your food experiences been like during power outages? Share your best tips in the comments section!