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Food in the Fridge/Freezer without power...


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How long would food last in the fridge/freezer without power? We lost power for ~35 hours from hurricane Irene...

We planned ahead, and turned the fridge and freezer to the coldest temperatures to prepare for the possibility of an outage.

When we finally got our power back, we checked out some food - in the freezer, most everything was still frozen, with the exception of a couple melted popsicles. My main concern isn't the freezer, it's the fridge. What would be okay/not okay to keep? Most things were still cold, but I don't want to risk food poisoning or something.

Just looking for thoughts if anyone has had experience with this. My hub says everything is fine and even ate our leftover chinese food that was in the (powerless) fridge. (men, lol).

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35 hrs is nutin. Most will stay edible. Yogurt will still be good as well as most any thing else.

We were out for less than that (~24hr), and only opened our fridge once (whoops). We haven't thrown anything out. Milk was still good this morning.

Did you open the fridge a lot?  That might make a difference.  I would smell any meats you had in the fridge as well as the milk/cheese.  Look for discoloration.  Most items will either smell bad or turn colors if gone bad. 

Original Post by crazineko:

Did you open the fridge a lot?  That might make a difference.  I would smell any meats you had in the fridge as well as the milk/cheese.  Look for discoloration.  Most items will either smell bad or turn colors if gone bad. 

It was opened twice (ooops). I eventually put tape across it so we wouldn't forget not to open it!

Such creatures of habit!

Original Post by cajunrider:

35 hrs is nutin. Most will stay edible. Yogurt will still be good as well as most any thing else.

ok, awesome :)

Thanks!

Original Post by roxysparkles:

Original Post by cajunrider:

35 hrs is nutin. Most will stay edible. Yogurt will still be good as well as most any thing else.

ok, awesome :)

Thanks!

 From my hurricane experience. Food in freezer is good for 2.5 days of outage is sealed tight with tape. In a rarely opened fridge, left over cooked food/opened meat/fish packages/milk  is good for 36 hrs. Left over unopened meat packages / milk is good for 48+ hrs.  Veggie tend to last longer.

After 48 hrs your best bet is to take them out of the fridge because by then the fridge will soon be hotter and more damp than the outside.

My freezer was completely thawed out. We had no power for 38 hours. :( I only opened it once (about 5 hours before we got power back) and everything was soaked and thawed. It was a mess.

My fridge was mostly room-temperature. It was warm out and things like cheese were semi-melted. I only opened it twice (to get milk and then dog food).

My fridge is really old so it clearly sucked. And we had the temperature at max, as well.

We lost 90% of our food. Our fridge wasn't jam packed, could that be why?

Our milk was warm yesterday morning (over 24 hours with no power). :/

Original Post by roxysparkles:

 in the freezer, most everything was still frozen, with the exception of a couple melted popsicles.

If there are melted popsicles, there's a chance that the other stuff in there [at least partially] thawed and then refroze when power came back on.

 

Original Post by floggingsully:

Original Post by roxysparkles:

 in the freezer, most everything was still frozen, with the exception of a couple melted popsicles.

If there are melted popsicles, there's a chance that the other stuff in there [at least partially] thawed and then refroze when power came back on.

 

Doesn't ice cream and the like need to be at a certain temperate before they melt? I'm pretty sure they melt first before anything even begins to thaw. I once had my freezer set too low and ice cream would be smoothie-like but my other things stayed frozen.

Original Post by floggingsully:

Original Post by roxysparkles:

 in the freezer, most everything was still frozen, with the exception of a couple melted popsicles.

If there are melted popsicles, there's a chance that the other stuff in there [at least partially] thawed and then refroze when power came back on.

 

Is that bad? I don't want to throw everything away, unless it's too risky, then I will.

Think about it.

If you take out frozen meat and some ice cream, which one will be gone first? Always the ice cream. They need really high temperatures to stay solid.

We didn't have any ice cream in there, except for skinny cows, but I don't care if they are bad - I'm more concerned with my meats and expensive chobani's lol!

Original Post by roxysparkles:

We didn't have any ice cream in there, except for skinny cows, but I don't care if they are bad - I'm more concerned with my meats and expensive chobani's lol!

From what you've said and didn't say (i.e. "all my meat is green and brown!  Is that bad??) it sounds like your meat is fine.  when you plan to cook it, smell the meat after it thaws just to be sure.  It should be a bit obvious at that point. :)

Original Post by crazineko:

Original Post by roxysparkles:

We didn't have any ice cream in there, except for skinny cows, but I don't care if they are bad - I'm more concerned with my meats and expensive chobani's lol!

From what you've said and didn't say (i.e. "all my meat is green and brown!  Is that bad??) it sounds like your meat is fine.  when you plan to cook it, smell the meat after it thaws just to be sure.  It should be a bit obvious at that point. :)

haha, it all looks fine - but I know you can't trust it just based on that! But I guess everything will get the smell test from now on :D

Original Post by roxysparkles: Is that bad? I don't want to throw everything away, unless it's too risky, then I will.

 Hypothetically, something could thaw, spoil and refreeze.  You're probably not in any danger if something thawed for 36 hours but how risky 'too risky' is depends on your risk tolerance.

I've let meet thaw completely, then refroze it and ate it later and was fine. 

Even if the meat were a little defrosted, as long as it was mostly frozen when the power came back on it's probably fine. Just to be safe, you might not want to cook any meat rare.

Original Post by kathygator:

Even if the meat were a little defrosted, as long as it was mostly frozen when the power came back on it's probably fine. Just to be safe, you might not want to cook any meat rare.

I never do anyway!!!

Thanks everyone. You've saved me a lot of $$$. I'm thinking we're okay, especially since hubby ate his leftover chinese (orange beef) that was sitting in the fridge all that time without power, and he's fine! lol

When I had a long term power outage (more than 72 hrs.)  I put a lot of ice in my refrigerator and everything in there stayed good.  The stuff in the freezer didn't stay frozen and most of it had to be pitched.  Some of it I was able to use once thawed but I couldn't use all of it.

I work for an electric company and this is the website I go by when people ask me this question:

 

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/keeping_f ood_safe_during_an_emergency/index.asp

my rule is that if it doesn't smell bad, it's fine.

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