Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) -The Olmsted County Public Health Services Department has issued an advisory for residents affected by power outages caused by this week’s storm.

The advisory deals with refrigerated food, which could be lost or spoiled during an extended loss of electrical service.

The advisory reads:

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain cold temperatures. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full). Do not eat refrigerated, perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, milk, eggs, and deli Items, after 4 hours without power.

If your power outage will continue during cold weather, use a clean, secure cooler or tote to store your perishable food items outside. Monitor temperatures to keep food at 40 F or lower.

NEVER use a generator, fuel-powered tools, gas or charcoal grill in the house, garage, in enclosed areas, or near windows, doors, vents, window air conditioners, and other openings.

When service is restored:

You'll need to determine the safety of your food. Here's how:

If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40°F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can't rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 °F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook. Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours and the refrigerator door was kept shut. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.

Keep in mind that perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, and eggs that are not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed, even when they are thoroughly cooked.


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