When does food go bad in a power outage? 'Best to err on the side of caution,' experts say

When in doubt, throw it out.

That’s the motto federal food safety organizations offer to those deciding whether to keep refrigerated food products after a power outage. The adage is shared by Anna Kestell, who advises caution for safety purposes.

“There’s some stuff that’s savable,” said Kestell, food preservation/safety education coordinator for the Washington State University Spokane County Cooperative Extension. “But for the most part, in your fridge, most everything is going to go.”

Tens of thousands may have faced such quandaries last week after losing power in a windstorm that sent upward of 70-mph gusts across the Inland Northwest.

While some outages lasted several days, four hours is

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