According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (external link), food safety is directly related to the temperature of the food. To maintain refrigerator and freezer temperatures, keep doors closed as much as possible. A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for approximately two days and a half-full freezer approximately one day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (external link) offers the following guidelines for if your power is out for more than four hours (if it is out for less than four hours, the food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to consume).
A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. Throw away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
USDA: Keep Your Food Safe During Emergencies (external link)
CDC: When the Power Goes Out (external link)
American Red Cross: Food Safety After a Power Outage (external link)
American Red Cross: Prepare Your Home and Family (external link)
CDC: Food Safety (external link)
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