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Foods in the Refrigerator or Freezer

If floodwaters enter your freezer or refrigerator, dispose of all food except those sealed in metal airtight cans.
  • If power is interrupted, or the refrigerator or freezer is not working properly for a short time, keep the door closed to keep cold air inside. This helps prevent food spoilage or thawing. Freezers and refrigerators should be equipped with thermometers to monitor inside temperature.
  • With the door closed, food in most freezers will stay below 40 degrees F up to 48 hours, even in the summer. Thawing rate depends on:
    • The amount of food in the freezer – A full freezer stays cold longer than one partially full.
    • The kind of food – A freezer filled with meat stays cold longer than a freezer filled with baked goods.
    • The temperature of the food – The colder the food, the longer it will stay frozen.
    • The freezer – A well-insulated freezer keeps food frozen longer than one with little insulation.
    • Size of freezer – The larger the freezer, the longer food stays frozen.
  • If power may be out for more than a couple days, try to move food to a locker plant. To move food safely, wrap it in newspapers or blankets, or place it in insulated containers, such as camping coolers to keep it cool.
  • If you can’t take food to a locker plant, leave it in your freezer and cover the freezer with blankets, quilts, crumpled newspapers or other insulating materials.
  • Use dry ice if it is available. Wear gloves to handle dry ice and proceed as recommended.
Filed under: Food, Flood, recovery, checklist
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