If you lose power, it’s a good idea to keep your refrigerator and freezer closed to keep food safe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
A refrigerator will stay cold for about four hours, and a freezer should preserve food for up to 48 hours if they remained closed, the agency says.
Here are the FDA’s suggestions for determining if food is safe to eat after a power outage:
- If the freezer includes a thermometer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. It is safe to refreeze food if the thermometer reads 40 degrees F or below.
- If there’s no thermometer in the freezer, check each package. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 degrees F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook. Don’t rely on appearance or odor.
- Refrigerated food is generally safe as long as the power was not out for more than four hours and the refrigerator door was kept shut.