Food Safety: Consumer Guidance


This table helps you determine when to save refrigerated food, and when to throw it out after a power outage that affects your refrigerator.

Discard any perishable food that has been above 40 degrees F for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture. If food has been kept above 40 °F for more than 2 hours, use this chart to decide when you need to throw something out.

REFRIGERATED FOOD: When to save, when to throw it out
Food If food has been kept above 40°F for more than 2 hours
Dairy Products
Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt Discard
Butter, margarine Safe
Baby formula, opened Discard
Fresh eggs, hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products Discard
Custards and puddings Discard
Soft cheeses: blue (bleu or imported), brie, camembert, Colby, cottage, cream, edam, jack, mozzarella, muenster, Neufchatel, ricotta, Roquefort Discard
Hard cheeses: cheddar, parmesan, provolone, Romano, Swiss Safe
Processed cheeses (American) Safe
Shredded cheeses Discard
Low-fat cheeses Discard
Commercial grated hard cheese purchased in a can or jar (Parmesan, Romano or combination) Safe
Fruit juices, opened Safe
Canned fruits, opened Safe
Fresh fruits, coconut, raisins, dried fruits, candied fruits, dates Safe
Fresh cut-up fruits Discard
Fresh mushrooms, herbs and spices Safe
Vegetables, raw Safe
Vegetables, cooked Discard
Vegetable juice, opened Discard
Baked potatoes Discard
Commercial garlic in oil Discard
Potato salad Discard
Casseroles, Soups and Stews Discard
Meat, Poultry, Seafood
Fresh or leftover meat, poultry, fish or seafood Discard
Thawing meat or poultry Discard
Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, egg salad Discard
Gravy, stuffing Discard
Lunchmeats, hotdogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef Discard
Pizza—any topping Discard
Canned meats (NOT labeled "Keep Refrigerated"), but refrigerated after opening Discard
Canned hams labeled "Keep Refrigerated" Discard
Pies, Pastry
Pastries, cream-filled Discard
Pies, custard, cheese-filled or chiffon Discard
Pies, fruit Safe
Bread, Cakes, Cookies, Pasta
Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads Safe
Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough Discard
Cooked pasta, spaghetti Discard
Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinegar base Discard
Fresh pasta Discard
Cheesecake Discard
Breakfast foods: waffles, pancakes, bagels Safe
Sauces, Spreads, Jams
Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish Discard if above 50°F for over 8 hours.
Peanut butter, jelly, relish, taco and BBQ sauce, mustard, catsup, olives Safe
White wine, Worcestershire sauce Discard
Fish sauces (oyster sauce) Discard
Hoisin sauce Discard
Opened vinegar-based dressings Safe
Deli-prepared foods: salads, coleslaw, cooked meats or poultry, luncheon meats Discard

This information is courtesy of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Visit them online at:

Retail Foodservice establishments are directed to visit the Health Inspection Program website for emergency guidance:

For More Information

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