Summer can often mean severe weather, heat waves, storms, and other natural events that can cause sudden power outages. Outages of any length are frustrating and prolonged ones can be dangerous. When your refrigerator goes out, it’s best to already have a plan in place. Knowing the proper food safety precautions to take before, during, and after a power outage will help you evaluate the safety of your food and keep it from spoiling.

Keep the refrigerator temperature at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at or below zero. When the internal temperature of refrigerated and frozen foods goes above the recommended temperature, foodborne illnesses can begin to multiply.

Virginia Aparicio is Health and Human Science educator with Purdue Extension Elkhart County. She can be reached at 574-533-0554 or

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