There is one really easy way to know if your freezer power outage negatively affected your food. Hurricanes, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms are terrifying and life threatening.
But if you survive the storm, the last thing you want is to get sick because you ate food that went bad while you were gone.
During a hurricane or tornado in particular, you might be asked to evacuate. During that time, your power might go out and it's likely that you'll have no idea just how long it was out.
Worst of all, that if your refrigerator or freezer had a power outage, it may have been for a few minutes or it could have been for many, many hours.
The biggest danger you need to be aware of is food that DEFROSTED but then RE-FROZE once the power was restored.
But how can you tell?
Here's an easy trick.
Before you leave, freeze a cup of water (a small paper Dixie cup is more than enough as it takes approximately two hours for this to defrost when a freezer is turned off).
Once the water has frozen take a QUARTER and place it on top of the frozen water and place it back into the freezer.
When you return, if the quarter is still on TOP of the ice than you know that the freezer power outage was either non-existent, or it was so short that the ice never had a chance to melt.
Meaning, your food ALSO didn't have a chance to melt.
However, if you return to find the quarter at the BOTTOM of the Dixie cup and now frozen inside, you know that the freezer power outage was long enough for the water to melt and then RE-FREEZE.
This is where trouble can truly begin.
This is where you need to understand that likely EVERYTHING in your freezer and refrigerator will need to be thrown away if you want to avoid the possibility of getting sick from spoiled food.
Either way, if your food smells suspect or is warm to the touch, it's simply not worth the risk.
Food poisoning is nothing to mess with and can actually kill you in the right circumstances according to the FDA. The very old and very young are especially susceptible in these circumstances.
So, before you evacuate the house in anticipation of a tornado, hurricane, or major storm, freeze a cup of water, throw a quarter on top and stick in back in.
You'll now know for sure if your food items defrosted and refroze or just had a momentary lapse in chill factor.
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