Power Outages and Refrigerated Food

In the spring and summer, there are storms, hurricanes and extreme bouts of hot weather that can cause outages.  In the winter, ice storms and extreme bouts of cold can cause outages.  Many members wonder, “Is my food okay in the refrigerator?  For how long?”

Some facts include (courtesy of the NC Cooperative Extension):

  • Keep the refrigerator doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature
  • Place a thermometer in your fridge and freezer
  • Use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer to check foods (cooking and storage temperatures)
  • Have items that don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten cold or heated on an outdoor grill
  • Unsafe food may not appear or smell to be spoiled.
  • A closed fridge will keep food below 41°F only about 4 hours after a power loss.
  • A closed freezer can keep food below 41°F for up to 48 hours if full and kept cold.

For more tips and information on what do with refrigerated food when the power is out, visit the NC Cooperative Extension Disaster Recovery page.