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Power Outage

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by pokey, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    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.
  2. nwdave

    nwdave 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.[​IMG]
  3. erain

    erain Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    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
  4. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    Wow, that's a great chart for my situation. It's amazing what you can see just by looking. Thanks!
  5. 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.   
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    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.
  7. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    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!