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Power Outages and Your Refrigerated Food

When your power goes out, there are a few health concerns to take into consideration. At the top of the list is your refrigerator- make sure that you keep it closed as much as possible. Every time you open the door, air gets in and raises the temperature several degrees. Here are a few tips from foodsafety.gov:

  • food will only stay cold for about 4 hours after a power outage
  • after 2 hours, you will need to throw away any meat and dairy, including eggs and opened baby formula
  • after 4 hours throw away any cut vegetables, lettuce, salad dressings, and anything else cream based.

But there is some good news when it comes to your freezer. Anything that stays frozen, or even partially thawed is still safe to eat. More than just food, any medications that need to be refrigerated can go bad as well. The most common refrigerated medications are insulin, shots for in vitro fertilization and rheumatoid arthritis medications. Insulin and in vitro medications can last for up to one week, but rheumatoid arthritis medication may only last 24-48 hours. If you take refrigerated medications, it is best to ask your pharmacist what is safe. Read more about what’s safe and what’s not.

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