In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, with millions of people without power for (possibly) a substantial amount of time, it’s good to know a little bit about what you can and cannot eat from your refrigerator and freezer.
Food will keep for several hours in a closed refrigerator and up to two days in a freezer, provided the doors remain closed. Typically this isn’t possible if you are living in your house during the outage, so here are some helpful things to know:
- Rely on prepared foods first. If you must prepare a meal with food from the refrigerator, get what you need quickly and close the door.
- Remember – when in doubt, throw it out. Discard perishable foods that are not refrigerator-cold.
- A full freezer, if not opened, can keep food safe for two days; a half-filled freezer will keep its contents safe for one day (if it is not opened).
- Food with a high water content stays frozen longer; meats and fruits do not thaw as quickly as bread and other baked goods.
- Do not refreeze frozen foods that have thawed and are not refrigerator-cold.
- Harmful bacteria tend to multiply during the thawing process and can grow on fruits and vegetables as well as on meat.
- If some of your food partially thaws and still has ice crystals in the package, it can be re-frozen. Please note that the quality of food will most likely be lower. Before using, check the color and smell to make sure it isn’t bad.
- The larger the freezer, the longer the food will stay frozen.
- If you have a separate freezer, cover it until the power is back on. Blankets or quilts placed over the freezer can conserve the cold, but make sure the air-vent openings are not blocked.
Visit the National Center for Food Preservation for more tips on freezing food.Back to News