Learn more about how to protect your food during a power outage with these tips.

Spring is almost upon us and with it come storms strong enough to knock the power out. Did you know that your refrigerator and freezer can help you avoid food poisoning even when the power goes out? Here are some tips to keep in mind in case of an emergency.

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Be Prepared for a Power Outage

  • Keep appliance thermometers in the refrigerator and freezer. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator and 0°F or lower in the freezer.
  • If severe storm warnings are in effect, fill 1-quart plastic bags with water, and freeze them to help keep food cold. They will fit around items requiring refrigeration and will also prevent puddles of water from developing as the ice melts.
  • Have enough ready-to-eat-food that does not require cooking or cooling to last a few days.

During a power outage

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible
    • A refrigerator will keep food cold for four hours if the door is kept shut.
    • A full freezer will keep its temperature for 48 hours.
  • Place meat and poultry on a tray so that their juices do not get on other foods if they begin to thaw.
  • Buy block or dry ice to keep appliances as cold as possible.

After a power outage

  • Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer. Throw out any perishable food that has been above 40°F for two hours or more. This includes:
    • Meat
    • Poultry
    • Seafood
    • Eggs
    • Leftovers
  • Throw out any food that has an unusual texture, color, odor, or feels warm to the touch.
  • Check for ice crystals on frozen food. Food that still contains ice crystals or is 40° or below can safely be refrozen.

About Digestive Disorders

UPMC Digestive Health Care cares for a wide range of gastrointestinal (GI) conditions and diseases, from diagnosis to treatment. Whether your digestive condition is common or complicated, our experts can help. Upon referral from your physician, we coordinate your testing and treatment. If you have a complicated condition, we can refer you to one of UPMC’s digestive health centers of excellence. Find a GI doctor near you.