Winter season kicked off this year with windstorms and related power outages. Thankfully, (for most) the power was restored relatively quickly. However, it got me wondering what would happen to all the food I just stocked in the fridge if next time the power stayed off longer than a few hours? Would I have to give up my holiday leftovers? Is there food that would be ok?
I learned from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that most foods are safe for up to four hours in the fridge when the power is out as long as you keep the door closed. However, if your perishable food has been above 40°F for more than two hours throw it away.
How to check if food is ok to eat? Well, first know that you can’t always tell from appearance or smell if your food is safe. And, never taste test food to determine its safety. Instead, use a food thermometer to make sure it’s out the danger zone (which is 40°F and above) where illness causing bacteria grows. I put together a quick cheat visual with some common items you might have. You can find a full list of items on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.