We just went through a huge wind storm this week in Buffalo and there are more coming.  If the power goes out, how long will your food be good for?

Storms are nothing new in Buffalo

In the winter, it's not abnormal to have blizzards and wind storms with heavy gusts.  When the power goes out, a lot of us have backup power options available.  But for those who don't, how long will your food last in the fridge?

We don't waste food

We grew up in a house where we didn't waste food.  We finished what was on our plate and we used food in the fridge before it went bad.  If you grew up in the same type of household, this one might hurt a little.

What should you do to make food last when the power is out?

There's nothing you can do about it when the power goes out except to be prepared for it.  Backup generators or alternate places to keep your food when the power is out are a huge benefit.  If you can move it to a place where you can keep it cold, then you don't have to worry about it.

However, if you don't have anywhere else to put it (like outside, or in a cold room/entryway/garage) that will keep it cold, the best option is to just keep the doors to the fridge and freezer closed.  While the fridge won't be making cold air without power, that will help to keep some of the cold air in.

How long will the food last in a closed fridge or freezer?

Here's the part that will hurt for people who hate to waste food.  The CDC suggests that food that has stayed in the fridge for more than 4 hours after the power has been out should be thrown out.  They say, "All perishable foods (including meat, chicken and other poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) in your refrigerator when the power has been off for 4 hours or more."  Any food with an unusual odor, color, or texture should also be thrown out.

Food that is in a full freezer will last for about 48 hours and food that is in a half-full freezer will last about 24 hours.

Unsafe food can make you sick even if it looks ok.  They suggest that if you are in doubt about whether it's good or not, throw it out.


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