If you're like me and woke up without power from last night's storms, you're wondering if the food that's in your fridge is still okay to eat.
The short answer is "no." But a lot depends on the amount of time the refrigerator and freezer have been cold. According to the FDA, there are guidelines for determining the food safety during and after a power outage.
It's a good idea for families to have a rule that when the power is out, the fridge and freezer are off-limits. This will ensure that the cold doesn't escape.
For a refrigerator that hasn't been opened, food can be unsafe after only four hours. Adding ice or dry ice can keep the cold last longer and is a good idea if you just stocked up.
After the power comes on, it's best to cook all food to its safe minimum temperature to ensure food-borne bacteria are destroyed.
After 8 hours, food is no longer safe in the fridge. In the freezer, check to see if things are still frozen. If food has thawed, you will need to cook that food within a few hours.
-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen