Food Safety During Power Outages


A power outage is never a convenient occurrence. However, some issues related to a power outage could actually be more than just mildly irritating. When it comes to your food supply, it’s incredibly important to know how to handle the situation. Which items should be thrown out if you have a power outage and when? What can you do to make sure you and your family stay safe as far as what you eat?

Be Prepared for Power Outages
Always be sure that your refrigerator is set to properly low temperatures in order to ensure that the food in it stays as fresh as possible should a power outage occur. Also make sure your pantry is well stocked with alternative options that are non-perishable so that you and your loved ones have plenty to eat. Grains, bread, produce, and alternative dairy items are all terrific options. You should also make sure to have alternative protein sources on hand like canned tuna or peanut butter.

What to Do During Power Outages
When the power goes out, do what you can to preserve the food inside of your fridge and freezer. Keep the doors shut whenever possible, as this helps to maintain cold temperatures to the greatest degree possible. How long the power is out will determine whether or not your food will remain safe to eat after it goes back on.

If the power was only out for 4 hours or less, your refrigerated food is fine to continue consuming. A freezer that is full to capacity will retain its temperature well enough to preserve food for two days. A half full freezer can accomplish this for about 24 hours.

You should, however, double check the temperature inside your refrigerator once the power goes back on. If you’re in doubt about any item in particular, it’s better to throw it out than to risk getting sick.

About Mike Stewart

Mike Stewart is a writer for Australian Food Safety News. Based in Brisbane, Mike has an extensive background in food safety and is currently a researcher at the Australian Institute of Food Safety.