Food safety: What to keep and what to toss in a power outage

If the power goes out, we all face the same dilemma: How long can we still eat the food in the refrigerator or freezer, and what should we keep or pitch after the power comes back on?

According to FoodSafety.gov, most food should be safe as long as power is out no more than four hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 40 F for over two hours.

Never taste food to determine its safety. You can't rely on appearance or odor to determine whether food is safe.

For food in the freezer, the USDA says a full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours, or 24 hours if it is half full, and if the door remains closed.


Thawed or partially thawed food in the freezer may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or its temperature hasn't risen above 40 degrees. The quality of the food may be affected if it's partially thawed and refrozen - but it is still safe to eat.

Watch the Accuweather video above to help you both monitor and know what to do with food when there's no electricity.
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