Food Safety During a Power Outage

It’s important to think about food safety during a power outage.

A power outage can spoil food and make it unsafe to eat.  If you experienced a short term power outage, the following tips may help you in deciding what is safe to eat and what you shouldn’t keep.

Did you know that a full upright freezer can keep its contents frozen for about 2 days, while a half freezer can keep food frozen for about a day if the doors are left closed? Without electrical power, refrigerators can keep food cool for four hours provided that the fridge is kept closed as much as possible.

When deciding if you should keep food from your freezer or fridge:

  • Use a probe thermometer to check internal food temperatures. If possible add bags of ice to the freezer to help keep the temperature cool for a longer period of time and replenish the ice as needed.
  • Throw out perishable foods such as meats, fish, poultry, eggs, and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4°C (40°F) for more than two hours.
  • Foods that have thawed in the freezer may be re-frozen if they still have ice crystals.
  • Discard food items in the refrigerators that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
  • Consider using cooler or ice chests with a supply of ice for food storage.
  • Just remember, when in doubt, throw it out!

If you have any question or concerns please contact your area Public Health Inspector at (306) 778-5280.

For more information on food safety during a power outage see this Fact Sheet.