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How long can my food stay in the refrigerator during a power outage?

The time you have to shift your food to a cooler or the trash might surprise you. And putting your perishables outside in the cold isn't the solution.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — What do you do if you have food stocked in your fridge and the power goes out for longer than a few minutes? Now is a good time to know just how long you have before you have to throw out some of that food.

According to the CDC, you can prepare ahead of time by filling some of your unused space with dry ice, gel packs or frozen containers of water to help keep the temperatures down. Also, have a cooler handy in case you need to shift foods somewhere else.

Once the power goes out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors shut. If they stay closed, a fridge will keep food cold for about four hours.

A full freezer should keep its temperature for up to 48 hours. The time is cut in half to 12 hours if the freezer's only half full.

Credit: CDC

If the power's been out for more than four hours, refrigerated foods like milk, eggs, meats, poultry and fish have to go. The CDC says you should never taste food to determine if it is safe to eat. 'When in doubt, throw it out.'

Once the power's restored, you can start using the fridge again as long as it stays below 40°F. The freezer should be at 0°F or below.

You may also be thinking, can I safely keep my food outside if the power is out and the weather is freezing? Our Verify team looked into that and found it's not the safest practice. You can read more about why, here.

Contact reporter Brooke Hasch at bhasch@whas11.com. Follow her onTwitter (@WHAS11Hasch) and Facebook

HOW LONG WILL MY FOOD LAST IN THE FRIDGE? It's a question we received through text this morning. As you know, we're in...

Posted by Brooke Hasch WHAS 11 on Wednesday, February 2, 2022

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