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 Food Safety During Power Outage 


Mayor's Office

For immediate release:  September 13, 2012
Contact: Jennifer Ruggles 343-4619

The Department of Health and Human Services offers recommendations on food safety after power outage.

With strong winds predicted over the weekend and potential for power outages, the Municipal Department of Health and Human Services offers the following food safety tips to prevent food-borne illness in the event of power outages:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.  Each time the refrigerator opens, a significant amount of refrigeration is lost.
  • Refrigerators keep food cold safely for about four hours if unopened.  A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if half-full and door remains closed.)
  • Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or below.
  • Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if power is going to be out for a prolonged period.  Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for two days. Follow all necessary safety precautions when handling dry ice.
  • If power has been out for several days check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer.  If food still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or below, then food is safe.
  • Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after four hours without power. 
  • Do not taste food to determine if it is safe to eat.
  • When in doubt, throw it out!

For more information on how to protect your food during a power outage, please visit or call 343-4200.

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