Food Safety During a Power Outage

Food Safety in the Event of a Power Outage

In the event of any power outage, it is important to evaluate the safety of food that is in the refrigerator or freezer. If in doubt, throw it out.

  • Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. This will give information that helps to assess the safety of the food.
  • Thermometers are available at grocery stores, hardware stores and kitchen shops.
  • Refrigerators should be set at less than 40°F (4°C). During a power outage, the refrigerator will keep food cool approximately 4 - 6 hours if it is unopened.
  • Freezers should be set at 0°F (-18°C) or less. During a power outage, the freezer will keep food frozen about 24 hours if half full and 48 hours if full and the door is never opened.
  • Plan ahead. Freeze containers of water or gel packs, or know where to purchase block or dry ice to keep the refrigerator and freezer cold longer.
  • If possible, transport food to family or friends to refrigerate or freeze.
  • If the temperature rises above 40°F (4°C) in your refrigerator or freezer, discard any perishable thawed food that remains at that temperature more than 2 hours.


Refreezing Foods

  • Discard any foods that have been contaminated by raw meat juices.
  • Vegetables may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals.
  • Acidic fruits, breads, uncooked fruit pies and unfrosted cakes may be refrozen.
  • Never refreeze fish, seafood, ground meats, ice cream, cream pies or custard-filled desserts and convenience foods that are labelled to cook from frozen.
  • Refreeze meat only if it still contains ice crystals and feels very firm.
  • Any foods refrozen may suffer some flavour and texture changes.


In case of an emergency, it is a good idea to have this information easily available. Print off these PDF versions to consult in the event of a power outage: