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How to keep food safe and cold during a power outage

Here is what you need to know making sure your food is safe to eat during a PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs, according to the USDA.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Frozen berries and vegetables in bags in freezer close up

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) continues to roll out Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a guide on how residents can keep their food safe while the power is out.  

According to its guide, the USDA said meat, poultry, fish, and eggs need to be kept either at or below 40 degrees. Frozen foods should be at or below zero degrees.


The USDA said to keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain safe temperatures. A full freezer will hold safe temperatures for about 48 hours [24 hours if the freezer is half full] if the doors are closed, according to USDA.

The USDA suggests using dry ice to maintain temperatures if the power is expected to remain off for long periods. The agency said 50 pounds of dry ice could keep an 18-cubic foot full freezer for two days.

Digital, dial or instant-read food thermometers and appliance thermometers could be used to make sure your food is safe, according to USDA.

Refrigerator and freezer thermometers will still monitor the temperature inside even if the power is out. However, if you feel like you're not sure the temperature is safe, USDA suggests using a food thermometer, as previously mentioned.

IN-DEPTH: The story behind PG&E's shutoffs: Fire - Power - Money. Inside California's burning crisis and how it's going to cost us all:


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