Hey everyone,

I hope everyone is safe and warm tonight. As the threat of bad weather threatens, I thought it maybe a good time to ease some minds of those of you that are worried about loosing power. So here's the skinny on refrigerators and freezers as they relate to food safety.

The problem temperature is 40 degrees F. Meat and most foods can not be considered safe after being at or over 40 degrees more than 2 hours. So a refrigerator is normally okay for four hours with the door remaining closed. When the power comes back on check the internal temperature and more important check the temperature of the items in the fridge. If the temperatures are good and they are cool to the touch then they may still be okay. Now if the temp is not so good should everything be thrown away? NO, the more perishable (meat, eggs, milk) should be checked for color change, odor and other freshness factors but things like hard cheeses, fruits, fruit juices, and butter/margarine should be okay. For a more in-depth overview of items check out this chart: http\/www.foodsafety.gov/refrigeratorchart

What about your freezer? As a rule of thumb, a relatively full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours (2 days!) if unopened or about 24 hours if it is half or less full. The frozen items act like an igloo or additional ice to each other retaining cooler temperature. Even if most items thaw they can be refrozen if they stay out of the 40 degree point. A quick guide for the items that maybe in your freezer can be found on here: http//www.foodsafety.gov/freezerchart.
A good way to know if everything is okay once the power is back on is to check for the coolness of the meat and also for any ice crystals that remain. Ice crystals are sure signs of everything being safe and okay for refreezing.

So, here's my advise for a power outage regarding your families meat:
4. Leave fridge and freezer closed as much as possible.
3. Check the temperature or for coolness before throwing away.
2. If you know that the power is going to be off for an extended time you can buy ice/dry ice to extend the life of your fridge/freezer items.

The Number 1 tip: Hey, its really cold outside. Put your perishables in the garage or on the porch, out of the sun, to keep them at a safe temperature. Be safe and until next time...

Great grillin',
The Ogeechee Meat Market Butcher