Adapted from Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency (USDA).
Thawed or partially thawed food in the freezer may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below. Partial thawing and refreezing may affect the quality of some food, but the food will be safe to eat.
If you keep an appliance thermometer in your freezer, it’s easy to tell whether food is safe. When the power comes back on, check the thermometer. If it reads 40 °F or below, the food is safe and can be refrozen.
Never taste food to determine its safety! You can’t rely on appearance or odor to determine whether food is safe.
Note: Always discard any items in the freezer that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
You will have to evaluate each item separately. Use this chart as a guide.
|Food Categories||Specific Foods||Still contains ice crystals and feels as cold as if refrigerated||Thawed and held above 40 °F for over 2 hours|
|MEAT, POULTRY, SEAFOOD||Beef, veal, lamb, pork, and ground meats||Refreeze||Discard|
|Poultry and ground poultry||Refreeze||Discard|
|Variety meats (liver, kidney, heart, chitterlings)||Refreeze||Discard|
|Casseroles, stews, soups||Refreeze||Discard|
|Fish, shellfish, breaded seafood products||Refreeze. However, there will be some texture and flavor loss.||Discard|
|DAIRY||Milk||Refreeze. May lose some texture.||Discard|
|Eggs (out of shell) and egg products||Refreeze||Discard|
|Ice cream, frozen yogurt||Discard||Discard|
|Cheese (soft and semi-soft)||Refreeze. May lose some texture.||Discard|
|Casseroles containing milk, cream, eggs, soft cheeses||Refreeze||Discard|
|FRUITS||Juices||Refreeze||Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.|
|Home or commercially packaged||Refreeze. Will change texture and flavor.||Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.|
|VEGETABLES||Juices||Refreeze||Discard after held above 40 °F for 6 hours.|
|Home or commercially packaged or blanched||Refreeze. May suffer texture and flavor loss.||Discard after held above 40 °F for 6 hours.|
|BREADS, PASTRIES||Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes (without custard fillings)||Refreeze||Refreeze|
|Cakes, pies, pastries with custard or cheese filling||Refreeze||Discard|
|Pie crusts, commercial and homemade bread dough||Refreeze. Some quality loss may occur.||Refreeze. Quality loss is considerable.|
|OTHER||Casseroles – pasta, rice based||Refreeze||Discard|
|Flour, cornmeal, nuts||Refreeze||Refreeze|
|Breakfast items –waffles, pancakes, bagels||Refreeze||Refreeze|
|Frozen meal, entree, specialty items (pizza, sausage and biscuit, meat pie, convenience foods)||Refreeze|