Science

How Long Can Food In Your Fridge Last After The Power Goes Out?

If you’ve ever lost power to your home because of a storm, you’re probably wondering how long all that food in your refrigerator will last before it spoils. According to the USDA, if the power has been out less than four hours, refrigerated food is probably fine. But if it’s likely that the storm will keep the lights off for many days, you’re going to have to be a little more scientific in your assessment.

The key with highly perishable items like prepared food, meats, seafood, dairy and the like is keeping everything above 4C. When the power is out, you can help keep your food cold by not opening your fridge at all. If you have a thermometer in your fridge, just check it whenever you first open up that fridge again to see if everything’s still safe.

If you don’t have a thermometer, you’re going to have to go item by item to make sure it’s all alright. The USDA has both simple and more comprehensive guidelines to help you determine whether your food is still good. (Check the latter for information about your frozen food.) If there’s ever any doubt, don’t risk it. [USDA via The Consumerist]

Image: Olesia Bilkei/Shutterstock


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