In the event that power goes out for an extended period of time in your neighborhood, Fulton County Cooperative Extension and the food preservation specialists and food safety specialists at the University of Georgia want you to know that the food in your refrigerator and freezer may be saved if you take special care during the outage.
â€śThere are several steps a family can take to protect the food they have stored in their freezer,â€ť states Menia Chester, Director of Fulton County Cooperative Extension. â€śBeing careful to follow the recommendations from UGA should help in keeping your family safe.â€ť
First, unplug the freezer and refrigerator, as well as other appliances, to protect them from electricity surges when power returns. Also make sure everyone in your household knows not to open the refrigerator or freezer doors; keeping the doors closed will keep the food cold for a longer period of time.
Items in the freezer potentially can stay frozen for 2 to 4 days, depending on the size of the freezer, how full it is, and how well insulated it is. A full freezer that had been operating at 0Â°F will keep foods frozen for about 48 hours if the doors remain closed.
Re-freeze only if ice crystals are still present or if the freezer temperature is 40Â°F or below. Discard any packages that show signs of spoilage or that have reached room temperature.
Re-freeze if they show no signs of spoilage. Thawed fruits may be used in cooking or making jellies, jams, or preserves. Fruits survive thawing with the least damage to quality.
Shellfish and Cooked Foods:
Re-freeze only if ice crystals are still present or the freezer is 40Â°F or below. If the temperature is above 40Â° F, throw these foods out.
If partially thawed, throw it out. The texture of ice cream is not acceptable after thawing. If its temperature rises above 40Â°F, it could be unsafe.
Creamed Foods, Puddings and Cream Pies:
Re-freeze only if freezer temperature is 40Â°F or below. Discard if the temperature is above 40Â°F.
Breads, Nuts, Doughnuts, Cookies and Cakes:
These foods re-freeze better than most. They can be safely re-frozen if they show no signs of mold.
Some thawed foods can be re-frozen. However, the texture will not be as good. Other foods may need to be discarded.
Meat and Poultry:
Re-freeze if the freezer temperature stays 40Â°F or below and if color and odor are good. Check
each package, and discard any if signs of spoilage such as an off color or off odor are present. Discard any packages that are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Contact the Fulton County Cooperative Extension office at 404-332-2400 or visit http://bit.ly/1bRdNzU Â for more information on how to keep your food safe during power outages.