Bismarck, ND (KXNET) — If you’re one of the thousands of North Dakotans who have lost power, your refrigerated or frozen foods may not be safe to eat anymore.

Here are some tips provided by the Upper Missouri District Health Unit for how to keep your food safe and when you may want to throw away some food.

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. If the doors stay closed, food will stay safe for up to:

  • 4 hours in a refrigerator.
  • 48 hours in a full freezer; 24 hours in a half-full freezer.
  • If the power has been out for 4 hours, and a cooler and ice are available, put refrigerated perishable foods in the cooler. To keep them at 40°F or below, add ice or a cold source like frozen gel packs.
  • You can also put snow in ziplock bags and put in your refrigerator.
  • Never taste food to determine if it is safe to eat. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Throw out perishable food in your refrigerator (meat, fish, cut fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, and leftovers) after 4 hours without power or a cold source like dry ice. Throw out any food with an unusual odor, color, or texture.
  • Check temperatures of food kept in coolers or your refrigerator with an added cold source. Throw out food above 40°
  • If you have an appliance thermometer in your freezer, check to see if it is still at 40 °F or below.
    • You can safely refreeze or cook thawed frozen food that still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below.

More information can be found at www.umdhu.org