So long story short my freezer was without power from Wednesday 5pm till Saturday 11am it's a Big chest freezer probably 5ft by 3ft or more. We recently butcher our chickens and cut up into breast legs ect.. and 5 whole brids (15 all together) smaller stuff in basket big stuff in bottom and we had 6 big ice bags in there. Other than that it was empty so probably 1/4 to half full

So I opened it up Saturday most the stuff still had crystal some was still completely froze other little squishy. Tenderloin was the most thawed but still a little frozen in center. I put thermometer in and checked after minute or two was 52 checked again in another couple minutes was 40 checked another couple minutes and was 35 but freezer was running at this point.

Ice was not melted but there was some water in the very bottom of freezer do you think it's safe to refreeze and eat??

2 Answers 2


For a big freezer like this, with the food inside properly cooled down and frozen, if it looses power (and stays closed) the food inside will stay fine for quite a while if it stays frozen. The freezer has pretty good isolation so even without power the food inside will warm up only very slowly.

Unfortunately in your case, several food items became unfrozen. The freezer was without power so long that the temperature inside increased to above freezing and food started to unfreeze (which takes extra energy, so the temperature will stay at 0 for a while). As the food you are talking about it raw meat, I would play it safe and discard it. Definitely throw away everything that become unfrozen. If some pieces where still frozen solid these could be okay.

  • When we’ve had major power outages in our area, they’ve mentioned on the news that a half-full freezer is typically okay for 24 hours, and a full freezer for 48 hours. But I don’t know if that’s a ‘it’s okay to cook and eat immediately’ or ‘it’s okay to re-freeze’. I think it’s the first one. If you don’t have a full freezer, just put water bottles in there.
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 13:04
  • It’s also worth mentioning that if you live in a place that experiences regular power loss, there are now freezer packs that do their state change near fridge temperature (not just freezer temps), so they can hold the temperature longer. Samsung and possibly others sell them, and fridges with compartments for the packs.
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 14:31
  • 1
    @Joe They are okay for that long without power because the temperature inside stays a few degrees below freezing for that long. As long as the internal temperature doesn't go above freezing and things start to unfreeze inside you can just cool them back down again. You don't actually refreeze, the food just went from -18°C to -5°C and then back to -18°C.
    – quarague
    Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 16:11

I unfortunately came home after a week away to this sort of situation. My general rule of thumb is to try to take a thermometer to stuff, but you have to do it immediately, not an hour after you’ve reset the power and the freezer has started to cook back down.

If it’s still under 40°F (about 4.5°C), then it’s at least still at fridge temperatures, so fully cook it and then you can potentially re-freeze it.

If it’s over 40°F, and you can’t say with any certainty that it’s only been at that temperature for less than 4 hours, I would recommend that most people throw it out.

Any packages that are puffy need to be thrown out, no matter what temperature they’re currently at.

If you’re not risk-adverse, and you have a pressure cooker, you can possibly cook food that’s slightly above 40°F, but the issue is that if microbes had a chance to multiply, the products that they create may not be denatured by simple boiling.

Many things in that people keep in their fridges are actually shelf-stable even after opening. Soy sauce, ketchup, and many other condiments are likely still fine even if they’ve spent an extended time in a warm fridge. Check any labels to see if it has any statements about needing to refrigeration after opening.

And when in doubt, throw it out. It sucks to lose lots of food, but food poisoning is much more expensive when you consider hospital bills and lost work hours.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.