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Food Safety After Power Outage

Post Date:10/11/2019 9:23 AM

 Since the power will have been off for more than 12 hours due to PG&E Power Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), Amador County Public Health and Environmental Health are providing advice regarding potential food spoilage. 

How long does it take food to go bad after a power outage?


The refrigerator will keep food cold only for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for about 48 hours – but only for 24 hours if half full.

Any perishable food that has been above 40 degrees F for over 2 hours should be discarded.

 Here is a list of foods to be particularly concerned about:

  • Meat, including lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef

  • Poultry

  • Fish (including fish sauces, oyster sauce)

  • Eggs (hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products)

  • Leftovers

  • Salads (meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, egg)

  • Pizza, with any topping

  • Canned meats (if labeled, “Keep refrigerated”, or opened)

  • Casseroles, soups, stews

  • Cheese (soft, shredded, low-fat) – hard cheese and grated Parmesan is OK

  • Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milk

  • Opened baby formula

  • Custards and puddings, quiche

  • Fresh fruits – if cut only

  • Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish

  • Opened creamy-based dressings

  • Spaghetti sauce, opened jar

  • Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough

  • Cooked pasta, rice, potatoes

  • Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinaigrette

  • Fresh pasta

  • Cheesecake

  • Pastries, cream filled

  • Pies – custard, cheese filled, or chiffon; quiche

  • Greens, pre-cut, pre-washed, packaged

  • Vegetables, cooked, tofu

  • Vegetable juice, opened

  • Baked potatoes

  • Potato salad


    These foods should be safe:

  • Hard cheeses – cheddar, Colby, swiss, Parmesan, provolone, Romano

  • Processed cheeses

  • Breakfast foods – waffles, pancakes, bagels

  • Pies, fruit

  • Fresh mushrooms, herbs, spices

  • Vegetables, raw

  • Peanut butter

  • Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles

  • Worcestershire, soy, barbeque, hoisin sauces

  • Opened vinegar-based dressings

  • Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas

  • Grated Parmesan, Romano

  • Butter, margarine

  • Fruit (opened canned fruits, fresh, coconut, raisins, dried, candied, dates)

 For more information please visit the Amador County Environmental Health website:

Printable version of this document:  CLICK HERE

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