News & Events

“When in doubt, toss it out.”

August 29, 2011

When it comes to food safety after a power failure, that’s the best advice, according to the food safety experts at the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Here are some guidelines:

* Throw out refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after 4 hours without power.

* Never taste food to determine its safety.

* If power has been out for several days, check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer. If the appliance thermometer reads 40 degrees F or below, the food is safe to refreeze.

* If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.

* A refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and the door remains closed.

* Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for two days.

Download the USDA’s informative 12-page brochure:

Or call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854)

In English and Spanish between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. TTY: 1-800 256-7072