power outages

What Foods Are Unsafe to Eat After Power Outages

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Tropical Storm Isaias has knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people in Connecticut and restoration could take several days.

It can be challenging to know what foods you should or shouldn't throw away after you've lost power.

Refrigerated Foods

Your refrigerator can keep food safe for up to four hours during a power outage, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is recommended to keep the door closed as much as possible.

FoodSafety.Gov says items that are refrigerated and perishable such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers should be thrown away after four hours without power.

Any raw or leftover cooked meat, lunch meats, salad, soft cheeses and shredded cheeses should also be thrown away.

Other foods like condiments, vegetables and fruits may not have the same fate.

Things like butter or margarine, fresh fruits that are uncut, fruit juices, peanut butter, ketchup and jelly are safe to eat after four hours without power.

You can get a more detailed list of what refrigerated foods you should keep and what foods you should throw away by looking at the chart below.

Freezer Foods

A full freezer can hold a safe temperature for approximately 48 hours, or 24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed.

It's important to note that food can be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Quality may suffer, though, experts say.

Things like bread, flour, breakfast items including waffles, pancakes and bagels, and hard cheeses can all be refrozen if thawed and held above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours.

Milk, eggs, shredded cheeses, casseroles and frozen meals can sometimes be refrozen depending on if it still contains ice crystals.

Any ice cream and frozen yogurt should be thrown away if it feels like it is refrigerated or if it has thawed, according to experts.

To get details on more specific items and what you should do if they start thawing, refer to the chart below.

Experts recommend evaluating each item separately and say to never taste a food to determine if it is safe. If you're in doubt about a food, it is recommended to throw it out.

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