Thousands in Evansville Area Are Without Power How Long is the Food in Your Fridge Safe?
On August 1st a storm rolled through the Evansville area that left thousands without power. It has many wondering, how long is refrigerated food good when you don't have power?
Thousands Without Power
I live in Evansville and around 7 PM last night our power was knocked out when a severe storm rolled through the area. As of writing this now (noon on August 2nd) my house is still without power, along with thousands of other Evansville residents. At one point the CenterPoint Energy Outage Map said there were upwards of 30,000 people without power in the Evansville area. Checking that map right now says there are still about 16,000 without power. You can keep an eye on the CenterPoint outages through their interactive map, here.
Last night, my husband and I headed up to my parent's house to get some extra flashlights and power banks to help us while the power was out, and my dad (who is always extra prepared) asked if we wanted to borrow his generator to run our fridge. I said no that our food would be fine. Well, it turns out I was wrong...
Dad, you were right!
How long is food in your fridge safe during a power outage?
As of now, we are about 17 hours without power. We made sure to keep our fridge doors closed so we didn't let any cold air out hoping that would help. Of course, as luck would have it, my husband just purchased groceries YESTERDAY before the storms hit. We were talking today about our food and wondering if any of it was still good, so I took to trusty Google, and the answers were NOT what I wanted to hear.
According to the CDC, if your power goes out, the food in your fridge is safe for about 4 hours. For many of us, our power has been out for about 4-times as long as the recommended "safe" time.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
- If the doors stay closed, food will stay safe for up to:
- 4 hours in a refrigerator.
- 48 hours in a full freezer; 24 hours in a half-full freezer.
- If the power has been out for 4 hours, and a cooler and ice are available, put refrigerated perishable foods in the cooler. To keep them at 40°F or below, add ice or a cold source like frozen gel packs.
The good news is the food in our freezer is still good, but it looks like we won't be able to salvage much of the groceries we JUST purchased.
Is any refrigerated food safe after the 4-hour mark?
FoodSafety.Gov has a really handy chart that lists many of the foods you probably already have in your refrigerator. They let you know which foods are probably safe to keep after they warmed up a bit, and which foods are not.
As the USDA notes in Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency, your refrigerator will keep food safe for up to 4 hours during a power outage. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers after 4 hours without power.
After a power outage never taste food to determine its safety. You will have to evaluate each item separately—use this chart as a guide. When in Doubt, Throw it Out!