Keeping Food Safe
During a Power Outage
When the power goes off, it is important to know how to keep frozen or refrigerated food safe to
eat. A refrigerator can normally stay safely cold for four to six hours, depending on how warm
your kitchen is. A fully stocked freezer will keep food frozen for two days if the door remains
closed. A half-full freezer can keep foods frozen about one day.

    If the power is out longer than four to six hours,
    refrigerated food can spoil. To keep food safe to
    eat, add a block of ice to the refrigerator. As the
    ice melts, the water may saturate food packages.
    Be sure to keep packages out of the water as it
    drains. High-protein foods, such as dairy products,
    meat, fish, and poultry should be consumed as
    soon as possible if power is not restored
    immediately. These foods cannot be stored safely
    at room temperature. Fruits and vegetables can be
    kept safely at room temperature until there are
    obvious signs of spoilage; like mold, slime or wilt.

    To keep frozen foods safe when the electricity is
    off for more than one to two days, keep the freezer
    door closed. If friends or family have electricity,
    divide frozen foods among their freezers, or seek
    freezer space at a store, church, school, or
commercial meat locker. Buying a block of ice or dry ice cold also save frozen foods from
spoiling. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubit-foot freezer below freezing for three
to four days. However, dry ice freezes everything it touches and should not be touched with
bare hands. If food is still “cold-to-the-touch,” it may be cooked and eaten immediately, or
refrozen.

If you have any questions, please contact the Marion County Health Department at:

MCHD Home

Food:
Food Safety
Hand Washing
Power Outage
Safe Food Temp

Septic
Systems:
Aerobic System
Holding Tank
Sand Filters:
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Recirculating
Sub-Surface
Seepage System
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Other:
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