My larder freezer door was left slightly open overnight - one of the internal drawers wasn't pushed fully home. The gap was about 2 millimetres and the alarm was sounding.

The freezer was last open at 11pm and I found it at 6:30am.

I closed the door and after a few minutes the temperature gauge read -1C.

The freezer is completely full of raw meat and fish, meals made at home and frozen, etc.

The insides seem to be frozen still and there was no sign of any water in the freezer or on the floor from things defrosting.

Should I discard the food? Is there a way if telling if any or all of it is ruined?

1 Answer 1


You write "the inside was still frozen" and that there is no sign of defrosting. What would make this unsafe or risky? The risk begins when food temperature rises above 40F (about 4C). It sounds like you were not even close. Close the door and move on...no worries.

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    Thank you. I just checked the freezer manual and found that the freezer records the highest temperature reached when the alarm is raised - that was -1C so I am doubly sure that the food is safe. Commented Apr 29 at 13:20
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    Also it takes frozen food a while to thaw out, even above 4C, and it doesn't instantly go bad once it's thawed. The rules might be more stringent in a restaurant, but you're at home.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Apr 29 at 18:09
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    @KeithMiller It's likely that the area(s) near the opening will have been much warmer than the recorded temperature, which will only be the temperature at wherever the thermostat is. You should carefully check the items that were close to the opening, especially those in the door, as those are the ones most likely to have thawed or partially thawed. In addition to the health risks, there are also possible quality issues which commonly are an impact substantially prior to there being actual health risks.
    – Makyen
    Commented Apr 29 at 18:53
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    Since nothing thawed, the biggest concern would be burning out the motor which is why it's a bad idea to put hot things in the fridge. Keep an eye on it for a while but if it continues to keep things cold without running constantly, it's probably fine.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Apr 29 at 19:27
  • Putting hot things in the fridge can also increase the temperature of nearby items (or everything, depending how much thermal mass we're talking) to unsafe levels. (Or, as noted, enough to affect quality, if not safety.) You might also get away with it (and sometimes you might need to stick something in while it's still hot), but yes, it's best to avoid it when possible.
    – Matthew
    Commented Apr 29 at 21:14

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