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Power Outage Food Safety

When Kentucky is slammed with winter weather, you may lose power for a period of time. Once the power returns, you may question whether your food is still safe to eat.  

Generally, frozen food in a full refrigerator freezer or chest freezer will keep for about two days if the power goes out and you do not open the door. It is important to note if the freezer is only half full, the food will only keep for one day without power. Refrigerated food will keep about four to six hours with no power. Opening the refrigerator or freezer doors lessens the time the food will safely keep. 

Once the power returns, frozen food that has ice crystals or feels refrigerator-cold can be refrozen, but it may lose its nutrient content, color, texture and flavor. Cook food that is completely thawed but cold within 24 hours. Discard food with a strange odor or color or food that is thawed and has risen above room temperature for two hours or more.

Never taste questionable food. If you have doubts about whether it is safe to eat, it is better to throw it out than risk a food-borne illness.

 For more information, contact the Butler Cooperative Extension Service at 102 Parkway Lane, Morgantown, KY or call 270-526-3767.

       Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability. 

By: Tracy M. Cowles, County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

Source: Sandra Bastin, Extension Professor



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