Food During a Storm


While it’s good to stock up now on nonperishable food, do you know what to do with your current refrigerated food before the storm hits?  Perishable food becomes compromised during a power outage after a certain amount of time.  Yes, food waste is a huge inconvenience and a cost burden to households.  But here are a few things to know to possibly minimize having any discarded food, according to

  • Set your refrigerator and freezer down a few degrees to make it extra cold beforehand.
  • For refrigerated food you don’t need between now and when the storm comes, freeze it.
  • Once the power goes out, make sure to keep the fridge and freezer doors shut to maintain these timelines:
    • During a power outage, having a full freezer will hold its temperature for 48 hours, while a half-full freezer will last for 24 hours.
    • During a power outage, the food is safe in the fridge for four hours.
  • Your nonperishable food should be stored on an elevated shelf to avoid possible contact with flood water.
  • An appliance thermometer is helpful to know how warm your refrigerator or freezer got. The temperature danger zone is 40-140 degrees.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. It’s not worth risking a food borne illness during already hectic times.
  • See this list from to determine which foods don’t have to be discarded, such as condiments and uncut fruit:,after%204%20hours%20without%20power.
  • Some homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance policies cover food spoilage claims. Check to see if yours does, or how you can add this coverage going forward.
  • Fill water in containers and place in freezer to make ice packs. If you lose power for an extended amount of time, this can double as drinking water.
  • Call your local Extension office if you have any questions.

Shari Bresin, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for Pasco County Extension
Posted: September 26, 2022

Category: Crops, Food Safety, Work & Life
Tags: Nonperishable, Perishable, Power Outage

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