How long can food be stored in the refrigerator without light

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Keeping track of food with a thermometer is a good idea, storing food outside is a bad idea

Despite the fact that Ukrainian energy companies are doing their best to provide people with electricity and heat, blackouts continue. And sometimes they are even quite long. This affects the quality of food stored in our refrigerators.

OBOZREVATEL figured out how long food and cooked meals can remain safe in a turned-off refrigerator and how to distinguish those that are still suitable for consumption from those that have already spoiled.

The general safety rule for food stored in the refrigerator is that the temperature should not exceed 5 degrees Celsius. When perishable food gets hotter, bacteria, including dangerous ones, begin to grow in it. How long it takes your refrigerator to reach this temperature depends on the model, the time you open the door, and other factors. Therefore, during a power outage, just try to open it less. However, a more or less general rule of thumb is that a refrigerator can keep the temperature for 4 hours.

To monitor the condition of your food, buy a refrigerator thermometer. As soon as you see that the temperature has started to approach the 5-degree mark, do the following:

  • Move the food to the freezer - it keeps it cold for up to 48 hours;
  • Eat what you can;
  • Throw away perishable foods and dishes that you are unable to consume.

An alternative option for storing food without a refrigerator in winter is to move it to an unheated balcony or somewhere outside. Yes, this is indeed possible, but you will have to keep a close eye on the food. The temperature can fluctuate during the day and get higher than 5 degrees. With a small excess (up to 2-3 degrees), food cannot be stored for more than two hours, with a large excess - not at all. The factor of direct sunlight also plays a role - it is better to protect food from it.

After the lights are turned on, check the food with a food thermometer. Those with a temperature of 7 degrees or lower may be safe, but they should be cooked and consumed as soon as possible.

Perishable foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, and eggs that are not properly refrigerated or frozen can cause illness if eaten, even if they are thoroughly cooked.

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