How Long Is the Food in Your Fridge Safe to Eat After the Power Goes Out?S

If you're one of the millions who lost power during Hurricane Sandy, you're probably wondering how long all that food in your refrigerator will last before it spoils. According to the USDA, if the power has been out less than four hours, refrigerated food is probably fine. But since it's likely that this storm will keep the lights off for days-if not longer-you're going to have to be a little more scientific in your assessment.

The key with highly perishable items like prepared food, meats, seafood, dairy, etc, is keeping everything above 40-degrees fahrenheit. When the power's out, you can help keep your food cold by not opening your fridge at all. If you have a thermometer in your fridge, just check it whenever you first open up that fridge again to see if everything's still safe. If you don't have a thermometer, you're going to have to go item by item to make sure it's all alright. The USDA has both simple and more comprehensive guidelines to help you determine whether your food's still good. (Check the latter for information about your frozen food.) If there's ever any doubt, don't risk it. [USDA via The Consumerist] Image via Olesia Bilkei/Shutterstock.com