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Handling foods after power outage

Following the recent power outages, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) are reminding consumers and food businesses to discard any refrigerated and frozen foods that may have lost refrigeration for more than four hours.

Consumers should remember:

  • Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible to keep the cold air inside the unit.
  • Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more.

If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can’t rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 degrees or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.

Food establishments are reminded to:

  • Discard any potentially hazardous food (meat, dairy, eggs, cut melons, and cooked vegetables) that has been above 41 degrees for four hours or more, reached a temperature of 45 degrees or higher for any length of time, or has an unusual color, odor, or texture.

Food establishments with questions about the condition of their food should contact their local food inspector for help and disposal recommendations.

Consumers can prepare for power outages by having a refrigerator thermometer and by keeping on hand a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling. When the power goes out keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.