Refrigerated or frozen foods may be unsafe to consume following a power outage. A fully stocked freezer should stay at a safe temperature for roughly 48 hours if the door is kept closed. Without power, a half-full freezer should be safe for about 24 hours. Many foods and beverages should be safe to refreeze if stored between -17.77° C freezer temperature and 4.44° C refrigerator temperature, however, they may lose some quality in the process. Temperature is essential because perishable foods can start to spoil or grow pathogenic bacteria like E. coli or salmonella more quickly than you might imagine.
If you suspect that the frozen food has been exposed to temperatures above 4.44° C for more than 2 hours, discard them. To keep the food at 4.44° C or lower, use ice or a cold source such as frozen gel packs. Some foods are safe to refreeze and consume later if kept between -17.77° C and 4.44° C for a short period of time. The CDC advises discarding any food that has an odd flavor, texture, or appearance. And you should never taste food to evaluate its safety.
If you’re not sure whether it’s still good, discard it and restock the fresh. Checking the actual temperature of the food inside your refrigerator can tell you if it is safe to eat.
For any potentially hazardous food that has been stored at temperatures ranging from 5 to 60°C for:
Food preservation tips for when a power outage is a probability
When power comes back:
Refreezing frozen foods:
Foods that still have ice crystals can be safely refrozen. Foods that have thawed entirely but are still cold 4.44° C or lower can be refrozen if the following procedures are followed: