State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600509
If power is interrupted or the freezer fails to
hold a proper temperature, do not open the cabinet
unnecessarily. Food in a loaded cabinet usually will stay
frozen for 2 or more days, even in summer. In a cabinet
with less than half a load, food may not stay frozen more
than a day. Cover the freezer with blankets to help hold in
the cold. Pin the blanket away from the air vent. The air
vent must be kept open since air is needed when the
electricity comes back on.
If the power is not to be resumed within 1 or 2 days, or
if the freezer may not be back to normal operation in
that time, use dry ice to keep the temperature below
freezing and to prevent deterioration or spoilage of frozen
food. To locate dry ice, check with local food companies,
chemists or druggists.
When dry ice is obtained quickly following interruption
of power, 25 of dry ice in a fully loaded 10-cubic foot
cabinet should hold the temperature below freezing for 3 to
4 days; less than half a load for 2 to 3 days. In the
freezer, place dry ice on a board or heavy cardboard on top
of food packages. Open freezer only when necessary. Don't
handle dry ice with bare hands; it can cause burns. When
using dry ice, the room should be ventilated. If you can't
get dry ice, try to locate a locker plant and move food
there in insulated boxes.
Occasionally, frozen foods are partially or completely
thawed before the freezer is discovered not operating.
The important considerations in refreezing foods are the
temperature at which thawed foods have been held and the
length of time they were held after thawing.
You may safely refreeze frozen foods that have thawed if
they still contain ice crystals or are still at
refrigerator temperature after thawing (about 40 degrees
Partial thawing and refreezing reduces the quality of
most foods. Foods that have been frozen and thawed
require the same care as foods that have never been
frozen. Use refrozen foods as soon as possible to save as
much of their eating quality as you can.