Power outages and freezer failure

Written by Gretchen McKay on


What should you do if your power goes out, and the food in your freezer thaws? Follow these tips from Penn State Extension's food safety website:

* Temperature is the key to safety. Generally, foods that stay at 40°F or below can be safely refrozen within a few days. (If you're not sure, use an instant read food thermometer.)

 Examine each item separately.  Discard any packages that have been or are above 40°F as they could be unsafe.  Generally, if the packages of meat or poultry have ice crystals remaining, it is safe to refreeze them. 

* Discard any packages if juices from thawed meat or poultry drip on them.  Refreeze vegetables only if ice crystals are still present.  Fruits may be refrozen if they show no signs of spoilage. 

* If ice cream is partially thawed, throw it out because the texture of ice cream is not acceptable after thawing and refreezing.  Refreeze creamed foods, pudding and cream pies only if they were always at 40°F or below. 

* Breads, nuts, doughnuts, cookies and cakes can be refrozen if they show no signs of mold growth.

Catherine McKay photo

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.