Power Outage and Food Storage

Do you know how to determine if the food in your refrigerator or freezer is still safe after the power goes out? Can food be re-frozen after it has partially thawed?

The following chart shows suggested instructions for saving or disposing of both refrigerated and frozen foods when the temperature has exceeded 40° F for two hours or more.

Generally, if the power has been out for less than two hours, food is usually safe to refreeze.

Refrigerated Foods Held Above 40° F/4.4° C for Over Two Hours
Butter, margarine Safe
Canned fruits – opened Safe
Fresh eggs, hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes Discard
Fresh fruits – cut Discard
Fresh fruits – whole Safe
Fresh or leftover meat, poultry, fish, or seafood Discard
Hard cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, parmesan) Safe
Jam/jelly, mustard, ketchup Safe
Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef Discard
Opened creamy-based dressings, spaghetti sauce Discard
Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish Discard
Opened vinegar-based dressings Safe
Milk, cream, sour cream, yogurt, evaporated milk Discard
Processed cheeses (i.e. grated parmesan in can) Safe
Soft cheeses (including cottage and cream cheese) Discard
Vegetables – raw Safe
Vegetables - cooked Discard
Frozen Foods Still Contains Ice Crystals and is as Cold as if Refrigerated Thawed
Beef, veal, lamb, pork, and ground meats Refreeze Discard
Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes - w/o custard fillings Refreeze Refreeze
Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes - with custard or cheese filling Refreeze Discard
Casseroles, stews, soups Refreeze Discard
Casseroles containing milk, cream, eggs, soft cheeses Refreeze Discard
Cheese (soft and semi-soft) Refreeze Discard
Cheescake Refreeze Discard
Fish, shellfish, breaded seafood products Refreeze Discard
Frozen prepackaged meals Refreeze Discard
Hard cheeses Refreeze Refreeze
Home or commercially packaged Refreeze Discard if held above 40° F for 6 hours
Ice cream, frozen yogurt Discard Discard
Pie crusts, bread dough Refreeze Refreeze
Poultry and ground poultry Refreeze Discard
Waffles, pancakes, bagels Refreeze Refreeze