Food Safety Guidelines | Handling Refrigerated & Frozen Foods During a Power Outage

by Marcy on September 17, 2008 · 0 comments

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, I spent most of the day yesterday freaking out about hundred of dollars of food thawing in my freezers. Fortunately I didn’t end up losing too much (I can’t bring myself to put a dollar figure on what I did throw out), but I did find myself wondering what was safe to refreeze and what wasn’t as I was sorting through all of my food. Some of my friends know I am a freaky freak when it comes to food sitting out…so they are probably laughing at me right now!

Today The Columbus Dispatch listed food safety guidelines for refrigerated and frozen foods. I couldn’t find this info on their website, but the Dispatch credited the American Red Cross as their source for this info.
I did end up throwing out a few things I probably didn’t need to…but overall I did a pretty decent job of guessing. I can remember throwing out my mayo and eggs for sure. The rest is a blur. One thing I will say…I did take the opportunity to give my fridge and freezer (in my kitchen) a good scrubbing since I had emptied it out. So at least there was a silver lining in all of this mess. :-)
Here are the guidelines per the Dispatch:
Refrigerated and frozen foods can spoil if held above a safe temperature for even a short amount of time. Here is a list of what is safe to keep (and possibly refreeze). All other items should be tossed.
Refrigerated Foods – the following foods, once opened and in the fridge, can be held at over 40 degrees for less than two hours before spoiling:
* Hard cheeses such as cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, provolone, and Romano; processed cheeses and canned grated cheese
* Butter and Margarine
* Fruit juices, canned fruit
* Fresh fruit, coconuts, raisins, dried & candied fruits
* Peanut Butter, jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, ketchup, olives, pickles, soy, BBQ, Worcestershire, and hoisin sauces, vinegar based dressings
* Bagels, waffles, pancakes, muffins, quick breads, bread, rolls, cakes, tortillas
* Raw veggies, fresh mushrooms, spices, herbs
Frozen Foods – These foods can be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals and remain below 40 degrees
* Beef, veal, lamb, pork and ground meats
* Poultry, ground poultry
* Casseroles, stews, soups
* Fish, shellfish, breaded seafood
* Egg products
* Cheese
* Fruits and juices
* Vegetables and juices
* Breads, muffins, rolls, cakes without cheese filling, pies, pastries with custard or cheese filling, pie crusts, bread dough, waffles, pancakes, bagels
* Flour, cornmeal, nuts
* Frozen entrees, specialty items such as pizzas & convenience foods
What have your experiences been? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

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