During the summer, there is often a rise in temporary power outages as households consume a lot of energy to keep their electric fans and air conditioning units working. This is because the weather is too hot that even if we just turn it off for a few minutes, we’ll start sweating profusely through our clothes.
And when we experience brownouts, there’s the worry of spoiling food because the refrigerator isn’t able to keep food cool. But sometimes, when the power outage only lasts a short while, we still consume the food left inside the fridge. But is it safe to do so? (Read: 3 Secrets To Ensure Food Safety Amid COVID-19 Pandemic)
Here are some pointers to keep in mind when keeping food in the refrigerator during a brownout!
#1: Food Is Safe to Eat if Power Was Out for 4 Hours or Less
That is as long as the fridge doors weren’t opened in those hours! If the power was out for four hours or less, virtually any food kept in the refrigerator is safe to eat. However, if the temperature in your fridge went above 40˚F or 4.4˚C for more than four hours, perishable items such as meats, milk, and eggs should be discarded.
#2: Do Not Open Your Fridge During a Power Outage
To keep the cold temperature inside for a lot longer, it is recommended to not open the doors of the freezer or refrigerator. So if you plan on eating during a power outage, it is best to grab something off the cupboard or shelf, instead of from inside the fridge.
#3: Transfer Your Food to a Cooler if the Power Will Be Out for Long
If the power will be out for more than four hours, it is best to remove all perishables from the refrigerator and transfer it to a cooler with lots of ice. Keeping it at a low temperature will ensure its freshness, and safeness for eating.
#4: Cook Your Perishable Food ASAP
Any perishable item that has a temperature of 45˚F (7˚C) or lower is safe to eat, but should be cooked and consumed as soon as possible. These items should be measured with a food thermometer to be sure.