Sooner or later you’re likely to experience a power outage at your home.  The amount of time your refrigerator and freezer is left without electricity (be it minutes, hours or days) can have a dramatic impact on the freshness and safety of the foods stored inside.

The Food Market Institute ( provides the helpfully guidelines for action.

First off, be prepared.  Keep an appliance thermometer in both the refrigerator and freezer so you can quickly monitor unit temperatures.


Foods in the Refrigerator:

–  Foods should be edible as long as power is out no more than four hours.

–  Discard any perishable foods that have been above 40-degrees for two hours or more.  Also dispose any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture, or that feels warm to the touch.

–  If you’re uncertain about the safety of any item after power is restored, it’s best to err on the side of caution.  ‘When In Doubt, Throw It Out.’


Foods in the Freezer:

–  Even without power, a full freezer will keep foods frozen or about two days; a half-full unit about one day.

–  If you think power will be out for several days, locate some block ice, bagged ice or dry ice to put in the freezer along with any refrigerated perishable foods.  You can also keep the food continually iced in an insulated cooler.

–  Try to pack foods tightly together to insulate one another.

–  All thawed raw or cooked foods can be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 40-degree F or below, but there may be some quality loss.

–  As with refrigerated foods, products thawed or held above 40-degrees F for more than two hours should be discarded.

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This month’s “Facts from the Farm”