What to Do About That Leftover Meatloaf in Your Warm Fridge

Friday, June 6, 2008

Tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Web page -- http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/keeping_food_Safe_during_an_emergency/index.asp-- on how long food can be safely stored in a freezer or refrigerator when the power is out:

Never taste food to determine its safety! You will have to evaluate each item separately. If a thermometer was kept in the freezer, read the temperature when the power comes back on. If the thermometer stored in the freezer reads 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine the safety. Remember, you can't rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 degrees or colder, it is safe to refreeze. Refrigerated food should be safe as long as power is out no more than four hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that has been above 40 degrees for two hours.

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