Department of Health

Food Safety Tips During Power Outages

Some tips you should know before the power goes out.

June 1, 2011 | 2 min reading time

This article is 9 years old. It was published on June 1, 2011.

food safety thermometerSevere weather may sometimes result in power outages. Be sure you incorporate that possibility into your emergency preparedness plan and consider the following:

If the power is out for less than two hours, food in the refrigerator and freezer will be safe to consume. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold longer. 

If the power is out for longer than two hours, follow the guidelines below:

  • A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours.
  • Store dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers in a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. Throw away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

For additional information on preparing for emergencies, visit .


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