What Food To Save And What To Throw Out After A Power Outage

Open Refrigerator In Kitchen

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Is the food in the refrigerator and freezer safe after a power outage?

Use these charts from FoodSafety.gov as a guide to determine what to keep and what to throw out.

Type of Food - Held above 40 °F for more than 2 hours

Meat, poultry, seafood

Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood; soy meat substitutes - Discard

Thawing meat or poultry - Discard

Salads: Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, or egg salad - Discard

Gravy, stuffing, broth - Discard

Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef - Discard

Pizza with any topping - Discard

Canned hams labeled "Keep Refrigerated" - Discard

Canned meats and fish, opened - Discard

Casseroles, soups, stews - Discard


Soft cheeses: blue/bleu, Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, cottage, cream, Edam, Monterey Jack, ricotta, mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, queso blanco, queso fresco - Discard

Hard cheeses: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, provolone, Romano - Keep

Processed cheeses - Keep

Shredded cheeses - Discard

Low-fat cheeses - Discard

Grated Parmesan, Romano, or combination (in can or jar) - Keep


Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milk - Discard

Butter, margarine - Keep

Baby formula, opened - Discard


Fresh shell eggs, eggs hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products - Discard

Custards and puddings, quiche - Discard


Fresh fruits, cut - Discard

Fresh fruits, uncut - Keep

Fruit juices, opened - Keep

Canned fruits, opened - Keep

Dried fruits, raisins, candied fruits, dates - Keep

Sliced or shredded coconut - Discard

Sauces, Spreads, Jams

Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish - Discard (if above 50 °F for more than 8 hrs)

Peanut butter - Keep

Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles - Keep

Worcestershire, soy, barbecue, hoisin sauces - Keep

Fish sauces, oyster sauce - Discard

Opened vinegar-based dressings - Keep

Opened creamy-based dressings - Discard

Spaghetti sauce, opened - Discard

Bread, cakes, cookies, pasta, grains

Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas - Keep

Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough - Discard

Cooked pasta, rice, potatoes - Discard

Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinaigrette - Discard

Fresh pasta - Discard

Cheesecake - Discard

Breakfast foods: waffles, pancakes, bagels - Keep

Pies and pastry

Cream filled pastries - Discard

Pies: Any with filling containing eggs or milk, e.g., custard, cheese-filled, or chiffon; quiche. - Discard

Fruit pies - Keep


Fresh vegetables, cut - Discard

Fresh vegetables, uncut - Keep

Fresh mushrooms, herbs, spices - Keep

Greens, pre-cut, pre-washed, packaged - Discard

Vegetables, cooked - Discard

Tofu, cooked - Discard

Vegetable juice, opened - Discard

Baked potatoes - Discard

Commercial garlic in oil - Discard

Potato salad - Discard

Casseroles, soups, stews - Discard

Type of food - Contains ice crystals and feels cold as if refrigerated - Thawed and held above 40°F for more than 2 hours

Meat, poultry, seafood

Meat, poultry, seafood – all types of cuts - Refreeze - Discard

Stews, soups - Refreeze - Discard


Milk - Refreeze (some loss of texture) - Discard

Eggs (out of shell) and egg products - Refreeze - Discard

Ice cream, frozen yogurt - Discard - Discard

Cheese (soft and semi-soft) - Refreeze (some loss of texture) - Discard

Hard cheeses - Refreeze - Refreeze

Shredded cheeses - Refreeze - Discard

Cheesecake - Refreeze - Discard


Juices - Refreeze - Refreeze. (discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops)

Home or commercially packaged - Refreeze (will change texture and flavor) - Refreeze (discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops)


Juices - Refreeze - Discard after held above 40°F for 6 hours

Home or commercially packaged or blanched - Refreeze (may suffer texture and flavor loss) - Discard after held above 40°F for 6 hours

Breads and pastries

Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes (without custard fillings) - Refreeze - Refreeze

Cakes, pies, pastries with custard or cheese filling - Refreeze - Discard

Pie crusts, commercial and homemade bread dough - Refreeze (some quality loss may occur) - Refreeze (quality loss is considerable)

Other Foods

Casseroles: pasta, rice-based - Refreeze - Discard

Flour, cornmeal, nuts - Refreeze - Refreeze

Breakfast items: waffles, pancakes, bagels - Refreeze - Refreeze

Frozen meal, entree, specialty item (pizza, sausage and biscuit, meat pie, convenience foods) - Refreeze - Discard

Source: Food Safety

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