My power went out for about 20 hours today, from 1am to 9pm. I'm wondering if the food in my refrigerator and freezer are spoiled.

Here's some info:

High temperature was about 100F outside, but only reached 90F inside. Fridge and freezer had no power the whole time, but I didn't open them at all while the power was out.

The items I'd be concerned about:

Fridge: Milk (opened), eggs, cheese (pre-packaged, but opened), bacon (opened)
Freezer: sausage, ground beef

Actually, the ground beef stayed frozen, but the sausages are now soft.

Left to my own accord, I'm inclined not to throw anything out, but I figure I should check with the experts on this site first...

3 Answers 3


I had a similar issue just recently, where my apartment lost power for twelve hours before being restored. With the doors closed for the entire time, the temperature raised only a few degrees, even the milk had no difference in taste, with it only being cool as opposed to cold like usual. Like yourself, it was also at the peak of summer.

Fridges are usually pretty well insulated (as they'd have to be, or else the motors would never stop running to keep cool during the peak of summer), so outside of the eggs, if it was never opened, I wouldn't be too concerned. I only put a caveat on eggs because as someone that cant' stand eggs, I never buy them, and hence have no knowledge of how susceptible to temperature changes they are.

EDIT: Personal opinion. Do not take this as a green light to start making bacon omelettes with a big heaping glass of milk today.

  • Thanks! Although, most of my food was open. Do you think that makes a difference?
    – Jeff
    Sep 3, 2011 at 4:12
  • Probably not enough to notice. I'd give the milk and eggs a smell test to be certain though. The bacon, well that'd be cooked, and if the ground beef is frozen, your freezer contents would be fine I'd say. Sep 3, 2011 at 4:14
  • 3
    This answer sounds about right. If you have an instant-read thermometer handy, I'd temp-test some things (beverage, and any meats you think are questionable) to make sure they're not too warm. But, the safe bet is that most of the fridge contents didn't get out of the safe temperature range of 40-140F... or didn't get out for long.
    – BobMcGee
    Sep 3, 2011 at 5:35

Simple test: if the frozen stuff is still frozen solid (hard on the outside), it's still good

It's freezer life may have been shortened slightly, but it won't have spoiled


Sounds to me like an excuse to make a big breakfast casserole today. Then you won't have to worry about the life of your stuff, because it will be gone.

  • 6
    I approve of this message, and wish to subscribe to your newsletter Sep 3, 2011 at 13:23

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.