I have had to buy a new freezer as mine broke last night, a new one will be delivered tomorrow morning, but I have to unplug it tonight. Will it be safe to put the meat in the new freezer possibly 10 hours after turning freezer off? Or should I just bin it all and go shopping? (I love to shop so that's fine...lol) I hope someone can help me. I am 37 yrs old, you would think I would have had to do this before but no! - lol

  • It depends on what temperature the meat gets to. See: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/34670/… Also, check your home insurance policy, they often cover food lost through freezer malfunction. – ElendilTheTall Dec 15 '16 at 16:58
  • Having food in a non-working freezer is indeed a question that crops up often, so I think it is fair to call it a duplicate regardless of whether the initial problem is a broken freezer or a power outatge. – rumtscho Dec 15 '16 at 17:44
  • Don't open it and put some blankets on it for more insulation. Maybe buy a laser thermometer and measure when you do transfer. Stuff in the middle will be more protected. Let the new cool down before you start the transfer. – paparazzo Dec 15 '16 at 18:44

You should be fine for 10 hours if the freezer was working fine (at the proper temperature) at the beginning of that 10 hour period. If you are past 10 hours when the new freezer is ready, you're still very unlikely to be over refrigeration temperatures.

Starting NOW, don't open the freezer until you're ready to transfer the food. If everything is still frozen when you go to transfer it, you're golden. If it's cold but has just started to thaw, you're still OK as far as for safety to just refreeze, but you may see some loss of quality. If your stuff is still cold to the touch but partially defrosted, pick the most expensive meat to cook that day, the rest of it is likely to face some quality issues if refrozen. If it's not cold anymore, consider it a lost cause, safety cannot be guaranteed.

Unopened vegetables aren't really a safety issue, but they might take a quality hit.

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  • Also: you can add ice to help keep it cool (but won't keep it frozen) or probably dry ice to keep it frozen; and of course if it defrosts and meat drips on things, then even otherwise safe things must be thrown out. – derobert Dec 15 '16 at 17:45

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