My freezer recently warmed to -6 degrees Centigrade during a long power outage from its usual -18C. It's now on its super freeze cycle and cooling back down again. Is the food inside still safe to eat? -6 is obviously less than zero, the freezing point of water, but I've heard that food in a freezer can go bad even below 0. Is this true?

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    how long was it at that temperature? – Kate Gregory Sep 15 '14 at 14:53
  • @KateGregory: Not for very long. It's kept inside our utility room which is at about +15C therefore it would have kept on warming had the power not come back on then [i.e. -6C was not close to ambient temperature outside of the freezer]. I would therefore hazard a guess at under half an hour at that temperature. Thanks for the edit and help by the way :) – niemiro Sep 15 '14 at 14:58
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    -6C is still freezing, you should be good. – GdD Sep 15 '14 at 15:45

@niemiro, in your post does "go bad" mean food quality or food safety? As for safety, you were no where near the "danger zone" either temperature-wise or time-wise. Initially safe, properly stored, frozen food that warms to -6C (or 22 F) for 30 minutes will not render it unsafe to eat. In terms of food quality, freezers (most of which these days are self-defrosting), go through temperature cycles regularly. The problem with this is not food safety, but the accumulation of ice crystals in foods, which degrades quality. Freezer burn is the extreme example. Of course, attention to packaging (vacuum sealing, for example) helps.

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    I was talking very much about food safety. In this house we live by "Will it kill me?" rather than best-before dates :) I'm glad to know that it should still be good. Thank you all very much. – niemiro Sep 15 '14 at 16:42

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