Refrigerator Q&A for When Power Goes Out

By Liz Crenshaw
|  Monday, Jul 26, 2010  |  Updated 12:10 PM EDT
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Refrigerator Q&A for When Power Goes Out

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If your power was out during the storms, but now you are lucky enough to have it back, you might be wondering what the deal is with the food in your refrigerator or freezer.

Well, if you kept the doors closed, a full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for about two days; a half-full freezer about one day.

If your frozen foods have begun to defrost, they are still safe if they have ice crystals or are still cold. If you re-freeze they will be safe, but the quality may not be as good.

Refrigerated foods should be safe as long as the power is not out more than a few hours and the doors have been closed.

The magic number is 40 degrees. Potentially hazardous foods should be discarded if they warm up above 40 degrees.

What foods should you be worried about spoiling?

Meat, fish, poultry, all dairy products, all egg products, soft cheeses and cooked foods.

When in doubt, throw it out. Remember you can't rely on appearance or odor. It's the magic 40-degree number. Get yourself a food thermometer and check the temperature of the foods.

For more information, visit the USDA's website.

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