Power Outage

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
Jul 15, 2010
Monroe Twp, NJ
When the tornado passed thru our neighborhood, it knocked out our power for a few days. We've got two refrigerators that were without power for about 42 hours. We refrained from opening them to try to keep the cold in. In one of them (the 15 year old!), when I checked the freezer at about the 36 hour mark, the meat at the front was still solid as a rock. The other freezer (purchased last year) had some items thaw. I haven't yet checked the back of either. I'm assuming that even the thawed items are still edible, but shouldn't be refrozen and should be eaten soon.We're planning to dig thru the freezers soon and chuck anything that looks like it refroze. My wife is less concerned about vegetables than meat and is thinking even the refrozen veggies are OK. The stuff that was still hard, should be OK, I assume. The non-freezer section I figure we can keep vinegar-based products like pickles or salad dressings and cheese (isn't it basically rotten already?), but the rest should be chucked.

I thought I'd post this here and make sure I'm handling this right. I'd hate to make anyone ill as a result of the way I'm handling it.

Thanks for any comments.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
I think for the most part your plan sounds good, however, salad dressings?  I'd pitch those.  It's not as though they're expensive but the possibility of being made sick by them could be very expensive.  The cheese?  If it's one of the hard cheeses (cheddar, etc), they should be OK, but if it's one of the soft cheeses (mozzarella, etc)  I'd give it a real good smell check.  But maybe it's my paranoia coming through, I've had one bout with food contamination, not of my doing, and I'm not interested in repeating that, ever again.  Matter of fact, tomorrow is garbage collection day in my neighborhood:  time to go through the fridge again.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Feb 2, 2008
cental minnesota
found this at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/keeping_food_Safe_during_an_emergency/index.asp

hope helps you out...
Frozen Food
When to Save and When To Throw It Out
FOODStill contains ice crystals and feels as cold as if refrigeratedThawed.
Held above 40 °F for over 2 hours
Beef, veal, lamb, pork, and ground meats


Poultry and ground poultryRefreezeDiscard
Variety meats (liver, kidney, heart, chitterlings)RefreezeDiscard
Casseroles, stews, soupsRefreezeDiscard
Fish, shellfish, breaded seafood productsRefreeze. However, there will be some texture and flavor loss.Discard

Refreeze. May lose some texture.

Eggs (out of shell) and egg productsRefreezeDiscard
Ice cream, frozen yogurtDiscardDiscard
Cheese (soft and semi-soft)Refreeze. May lose some texture.Discard
Hard cheesesRefreezeRefreeze
Shredded cheesesRefreezeDiscard
Casseroles containing milk, cream, eggs, soft cheesesRefreezeDiscard


Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.
Home or commercially packagedRefreeze. Will change texture and flavor.Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.


Discard after held above 40 °F for 6 hours.
Home or commercially packaged or blanchedRefreeze. May suffer texture and flavor loss.Discard after held above 40 °F for 6 hours.
Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes (without custard fillings)


Cakes, pies, pastries with custard or cheese fillingRefreezeDiscard
Pie crusts, commercial and homemade bread doughRefreeze. Some quality loss may occur.Refreeze. Quality loss is considerable.
Casseroles – pasta, rice based
Flour, cornmeal, nutsRefreezeRefreeze
Breakfast items –waffles, pancakes, bagelsRefreezeRefreeze
Frozen meal, entree, specialty items (pizza, sausage and biscuit, meat pie,convenience foods)RefreezeDiscard


Meat Mopper
Original poster
Thread starter
Jul 15, 2010
Monroe Twp, NJ
Wow, that's a great chart for my situation. It's amazing what you can see just by looking. Thanks!

smoke 2 geaux

Smoking Fanatic
Mar 18, 2010
Denham Springs La.
Us folks in Louisiana are far too familliar with this situation, so i feel your pain.  That chart is the best reference I've seen for that sort of thing.  Also remember that your thawed, but still good meats can be cooked, then re-frozen. I made a monster deer stew after Katrina, then dividied it up into serving sizes and froze them.  I ground up all my meat and made sausage after Gustav.   


Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Mar 12, 2009

Man oh Man that's one great chart to have  and thanks there Erain. They need to make a place in wiki for that one for sure. I now have it printed and in my best recipe book.


Smoking Fanatic
Jul 28, 2010
Lafayette, Indiana
This may sound really dorky, but I keep a small bowl of plain ice cubes in my chest freezer. If the power were to ever go out while I was gone (and then come back on), I get an idea of if it was out long enough to thaw my ice. Even if it re-freezes, they obviously won't be the same shape they are supposed to be.  If it got warm enough to thaw my ice, I assume it got warm enough to put other stuff at risk.

Erain? That chart rocked my socks. Thank you for sharing!
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