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How long will my fridge stay cold? What to toss & what to keep next time there’s an electrical outage.

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We all know that if there is one thing that is not stable in the country now its electricity, and even if your generator is an option how long does the fridge stay cold, and at what point does bacteria growth become a threat, forcing you to toss out your perishable food? Here’s everything you need to know.

First you must know that the more food there is inside the fridge, the more cold is retained. Without power, a refrigerator will likely remain at a safe temperature for up to four hours if the door is kept closed,  Food in your freezer stays cold for even longer about a day if the freezer is half full, and about 48 hours if it’s full.

It is important to to keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed during power outages to maintain the cold temperature, so don’t be tempted to always check on it by opening the doors forcing the temperature to drop

How do i know when the food in the fridge starts to go bad

While some foods, like dairy and meats, might start to look or smell bad, you can’t always rely on the appearance or smell of a food item to determine its safety. “For items in the freezer to be safe to refreeze or prepare for consumption, they should have an internal temperature below 40 degrees

So if you’re unsure about the safety of food items that were in your refrigerator or freezer during a power outage or anytime, for that matter it’s better to throw them away and rely on shelf-stable pantry items for your meals.

to avoid food waste, it’s wise to eat the most perishable items in your refrigerator first, such as leftovers, meat, poultry, and foods containing milk, soft cheese, cream, or sour cream, assuming their temperatures indicate they are safe.

How to keep food from spoiling if the outage lasts more than a day

If it’s likely that power will be out for several days, purchase dry ice or block ice for your refrigerator or freezer to help keep perishables at a safe temperature.

What to keep and what to throw away

Food In The Fridge:

Meat, poultry, seafood
Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood;
soy meat substitutes
Discard
Thawing meat or poultryDiscard
Salads: Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, or egg saladDiscard
Gravy, stuffing, brothDiscard
Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beefDiscard
Pizza with any toppingDiscard
Canned hams labeled “Keep Refrigerated”Discard
Canned meats and fish, openedDiscard
Casseroles, soups, stewsDiscard
Cheese
Soft cheeses: blue/bleu, Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, cottage, cream, Edam, Monterey Jack, ricotta, mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, queso blanco, queso frescoDiscard
Hard cheeses: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, provolone, RomanoKeep
Processed cheesesKeep
Shredded cheesesDiscard
Low-fat cheesesDiscard
Grated Parmesan, Romano, or combination (in can or jar)Keep
Dairy
Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milkDiscard
Butter, margarineKeep
Baby formula, openedDiscard
Eggs
Fresh eggs, hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg productsDiscard
Custards and puddings, quicheDiscard
Fruits
Fresh fruits, cutDiscard
Fresh fruits, uncutKeep
Fruit juices, openedKeep
Canned fruits, openedKeep
Dried fruits, raisins, candied fruits, datesKeep
Sliced or shredded coconutDiscard
Sauces, Spreads, Jams
Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradishDiscard
(if above 50 °F for more than 8 hrs)
Peanut butterKeep
Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, picklesKeep
Worcestershire, soy, barbecue, hoisin saucesKeep
Fish sauces, oyster sauceDiscard
Opened vinegar-based dressingsKeep
Opened creamy-based dressingsDiscard
Spaghetti sauce, openedDiscard
Bread, cakes, cookies, pasta, grains
Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillasKeep
Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie doughDiscard
Cooked pasta, rice, potatoesDiscard
Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinaigretteDiscard
Fresh pastaDiscard
CheesecakeDiscard
Breakfast foods: waffles, pancakes, bagelsKeep
Pies and pastry
Cream filled pastriesDiscard
Pies: custard, cheese-filled, or chiffon; quicheDiscard
Fruit piesKeep
Vegetables
Fresh vegetables, cutDiscard
Fresh vegetables, uncutKeep
Fresh mushrooms, herbs, spicesKeep
Greens, pre-cut, pre-washed, packagedDiscard
Vegetables, cookedDiscard
Tofu, cookedDiscard
Vegetable juice, openedDiscard
Baked potatoesDiscard
Commercial garlic in oilDiscard
Potato saladDiscard
Casseroles, soups, stewsDiscard

Food In the freezer:

Meat, poultry, seafood
Meat, poultry, seafood – all types of cutsRefreeze
 
Discard
stews, soupsRefreeze
 
Discard
Dairy
MilkRefreeze
(some loss of texture)
Discard
Eggs (out of shell) and egg productsRefreezeDiscard
Ice cream, frozen yogurtDiscardDiscard
Cheese (soft and semi-soft)Refreeze (some loss of texture)Discard
Hard cheesesRefreezeRefreeze
Shredded cheesesRefreezeDiscard
CheesecakeRefreezeDiscard
Fruits
JuicesRefreezeRefreeze. (discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops)
Home or commercially packagedRefreeze
(will change texture and flavor)
Refreeze (discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops)
Vegetables
JuicesRefreezeDiscard after held above 40°F for 6 hours
Home or commercially packaged or blanchedRefreeze (may suffer texture and flavor loss)Discard after held above 40°F for 6 hours
Breads and pastries
Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes (without custard fillings)RefreezeRefreeze
Cakes, pies, pastries with custard or cheese fillingRefreezeDiscard
Pie crusts, commercial and homemade bread doughRefreeze (some quality loss may occur)Refreeze (quality loss is considerable)
Other Foods
Casseroles: pasta, rice-basedRefreezeDiscard
Flour, cornmeal, nutsRefreezeRefreeze
Breakfast items: waffles, pancakes, bagelsRefreezeRefreeze
Frozen meal, entree, specialty item (pizza, sausage and biscuit, meat pie, convenience foods)RefreezeDiscard

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Samuel future is a content writer with an English and literature background. Spurred by the desire to inspire young professionals, He started an online community where he shares relevant information aimed at building, empowering, inspiring, supporting and promoting employees to thrive in their careers.

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