How to Keep Your Food From Spoiling During a Power Outage

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Open Refrigerator With Stocked Food Products
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Okay, imagine this: you're all snuggled up on your couch during a storm, maybe eating leftovers out of a plastic container—I don't judge—and then all of a sudden, your power goes out. Your first thought might be whether or not you've fully charged your phone or if Netflix will save your spot during your recent binge of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo—but what you should really be worrying about is, what do you do with all the food in your fridge?

Here are some tips on how to keep your food safe and prevent it from spoiling when you lose power—you'll thank us later.

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1 Keep your refrigerator closed.
Kitchen Refrigerator
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Seriously, just keep it closed. Unless absolutely necessary, there's no reason to open it. If kept shut, food in your fridge can stay cold for four hours. You have more leeway with time for food in the freezer, which can stay cold for up to 48 hours if it's full, and 24 hours if it's around half full.

2 Buy dry ice or bags of ice beforehand.
Ice Freezer
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If you know a storm is coming and your house is prone to losing power, purchase dry ice or bags of ice to keep in your fridge. If you lose power for a long period of time, this could drastically help save your food supply. According to the FDA, 50 pounds of dry ice can keep a fully stocked freezer cold for two days.

3 Check the temp.
Open fridge refrigerator  full of food and drinks isolated on white background
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Most food should be good to eat if the doors have been kept closed, but beware—anything that has been kept at 40° or above for longer than two hours isn't safe to eat. If you lose power when it's hot out, food should be thrown out after one hour if exposed to 90° temps or higher.

4 If your food is all checked out and ready to eat, just be extra careful.
Woman spooning meat into tupperware
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Even if the food in your fridge is still cold and it's been a relatively short time since the power went out, you should still be super careful—especially when eating meat, dairy, eggs, or fish. Make sure that everything is cooked to a safe internal temperature to ensure that any foodborne bacteria is destroyed.

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