Still Without Power? How Long Will Food Last in the Fridge?

Here are guidelines from the USDA regarding the safety of food in a refrigerator without power.

For those Medfield residents who lost their power Sunday as the result of  passing through town, and still remain without power, may be asking how long is the food stored in the refrigerator or freezer good before it has to be discarded?

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service prepared a fact sheet for keeping food safe during an emergency, including losing power.

The USDA says to "keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature."

But, the refrigerator will only keep food safely cold for about four hours if unopened during a power outage, according to the USDA. A full freezer will hold the temperature for about 48 hours if full (24 hours of half full), the USDA says.

The USDA emphasizes "never to taste food to determine its safety" and says that you should "evaluate each item separately."

Generally, if the temperature in the thermometer in the freezer reads 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, the food is safe and can be refrozen, according to the USDA. The USDA suggests obtaining dry or block ice to help keep refrigerated or frozen food cold if the power will be out for an extended period of time.

For more details and for a list of "when to save and when to throw it out" for refrigerated and frozen food items, click on this link:


john powers August 29, 2011 at 11:33 PM
people without power can't see this article
Jeremie Smith (Editor) August 30, 2011 at 01:31 AM
That's a valid point John, but many readers have been able to follow Medfield Patch articles throughout the day through their smart phones and other wireless devices.
john powers August 30, 2011 at 02:16 PM
fair enough, good article
Jeremie Smith (Editor) October 31, 2011 at 04:09 PM
FYI – Halloween, i.e. trick-or-treating has been postponed in Medfield until Friday, Nov. 4. http://patch.com/A-ntCk


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