It is inevitable, at some point you will lose power. Keeping food safe is very important. Dry ice can be a vital part to keeping your food fresh. If you know and understand how to keep the food safe during emergencies, this will keep your risk for foodborne illness to a minimum. It can also save you tons of money and time by keeping your food fresh.
Fully review our dry ice safety recommendations for using dry ice and understand all the risks involved with using dry ice before purchasing it.
Rules for keeping food safe
Keep meat, fish, eggs, and poultry below 40 °F. Frozen food should always be check at or below 0 °F. You should be able to take this temperature with a food thermometer.
How to keep food safe
The number one rule is to always keep the doors of the refrigerator and freezers shut as much as possible. If the refrigerator is unopened, it should keep food cold for up to 4 hours without the use of dry ice. A freezer that is unopened should last for about 48 hours without dry ice. If the freezer is only half full, it will only last for about 24 hours without dry ice.
If your refrigerator is going to be off for more than 4 hours, you will want to keep it cool with about a 10 – 15 pound dry ice block. This much dry ice should last you from half to a full day. The dry ice should be placed on the bottom shelf. You will want to place the dry ice on an insulated product like Styrofoam or cardboard. Keep an eye on the dry ice. Before the dry ice completely disappears, you will want to replace it with a new block of dry ice.
You will want to keep in mind a few things about using dry ice to cool a refrigerator. Dry ice is very cold. If items are not moved away from the dry ice, they may freeze. Also, because dry ice is pure CO2, when it sublimates, it lets off carbon dioxide gas. This is the same stuff they put in soft drinks to give it carbonation. Be aware that as dry ice does this, it may carbonate your liquid drinks.
If your freezer is going to be off for more than 24 hours, you will want to keep it cool with about 25 to 30 pounds of dry ice. A good rule for determining how much dry ice you will need is 2.5 to 3 pounds per cubic foot of freezer. This much dry ice should give you about 1 more day. Before the dry ice completely disappears, you will want to replace it with a new block of dry ice.
Know where to get dry ice
Dry ice is going to be key for keeping food safe for long periods of time. Know where your dry ice retailers are ahead of time. You should tape the location of a few dry ice retailers to the back of your refrigerator in case of emergency.