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Food Safety Tips During a Power Outage


May 29, 2013 STORM PREPAREDNESS


Food Safety Tips during a Power Outage

The power went out and it’s suddenly time to remember all the emergency preparedness tips you’ve stored up. You easily find the flashlights and emergency preparedness kit containing extra batteries, water, a first aid kit and some canned food… but what about the food in the refrigerator? 

Food safety during a power outage can be tricky and throwing away food may feel wasteful. GE Home Standby Generators put together food safety tips in case of a power outage to keep your family safe and fed during a power outage emergency!

Avoid Power Outage Food Spoilage

The easiest way to avoid power outage food spoilage is to keep the freezer and refrigerator doors closed! Food will keep cool in the refrigerator with the doors closed for up to four hours.

As a part of your overall emergency preparedness plan, have coolers and know where to buy ice to keep the most perishable foods cold. Also, get appliance thermometers for your refrigerator and freezer to read the temperature even when the power is out.

Never taste food to test if it is safe to eat! The only way to determine spoiled food is by checking the temperature of each item.

Tip: If possible, use an outdoor grill to prepare perishable foods and store leftovers in iced coolers.

Power Outage Food in Freezer

A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for 24 hours; a full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. If your home is without power for longer than that, review the list below to determine what foods to throw away. You can refreeze food that has gone four hours or less without power or that has been kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Power Outage Food in Refrigerator

With the power out for 2 or more hours, it’s likely your refrigerator temperature will be at or above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  


The following are foods that spoil and should be thrown away if not kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit:
• Meat, poultry and seafood 
• All dairy, including eggs and soft cheeses
• Freshly cut fruit 
• Spaghetti sauce, tartar / fish sauces, or any cream-based sauces
• Dough and pasta
• Cream based desserts
• Salads & greens

The following are foods without refrigeration that will remain safe to eat, even after two hours:
• Hard, processed cheeses, including grated parmesan
• Butter and margarine
• Fruit juices
• Dried and candied fruits
• Fresh uncut fruit
• Peanut butter
• Non cream based condiments
• Breads
• Raw vegetables


Still have questions about food safety during a power outage and what foods you can eat? The Food & Drug Administration and The US Department of Agriculture have compiled an extensive list of food safety guidelines for refrigerated foods during a power outage.

While all of these power outage food safety tips are helpful, a home standby generator provides the backup power required to keep your home (and refrigerator) running during power loss emergencies. Check out “Do I Need a Home Standby Generator?” to see why your home and family will benefit from keeping the power on and talk to a GE Dealer in your area today!