Food after an outage: What to save and what to pitch

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Tree limbs and stumps aren’t the only things you might be getting rid of after Wednesday’s wind. You might need to clean out your refrigerator after losing power.

Even if your power is back now, these tips from the Food and Drug Administration might come in handy when your power goes out the next time.

First, resist the urge. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed — that will make the food last the longest.

The rule of thumb is that food in the refrigerator will stay cold for about four hours if the doors remain closed.

Having more food in the freezer could work to your benefit when losing power. A full freezer will keep for about two days if the doors remain closed; only one day if the freezer is half full.

The FDA recommends an appliance thermometer so you can check the temperature when the power is restored.

If your freezer reads 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower — the food is safe and can be refrozen.

The one bit of good news we can tell you — it is chilly enough outside that you could move some food onto your porch. Temperatures will remain below 40 through the weekend.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services provided this guide for determining what is safe to keep following a power outage:


FDA: Food and water safety during power outages