Hurricanes and other natural disasters are frequently accompanied by a power outage. Oftentimes, the lack of power is as great a danger as the storm itself.

If the power is out for less than four hours, the food in your refrigerator is most likely fine, provided the door was left shut. After four hours, things begin to get more dangerous as the temperatures rise and bacteria begins to grow.

The USDA and foodsafety.gov have put together a handy chart on food safety that you can use to determine what to keep, and what to pitch after a power outage.

Food Categories

Specific Foods

Held above 40 °F for over 2 hours

MEAT, POULTRY, SEAFOOD

Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood; soy meat substitutes

Discard

Thawing meat or poultry

Discard

Salads: Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, or egg salad

Discard

Gravy, stuffing, broth

Discard

Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef

Discard

Pizza – with any topping

Discard

Canned hams labeled “Keep Refrigerated”

Discard

Canned meats and fish, opened

Discard

Casseroles, soups, stews

Discard

CHEESE

Soft Cheeses: blue/bleu, Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, cottage, cream, Edam, Monterey Jack, ricotta, mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, queso blanco, queso fresco

Discard

Hard Cheeses: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, provolone, Romano

Safe

Processed Cheeses

Safe

Shredded Cheeses

Discard

Low-fat Cheeses

Discard

Grated Parmesan, Romano, or combination (in can or jar)

Safe

DAIRY

Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milk

Discard

Butter, margarine

Safe

Baby formula, opened

Discard

EGGS

Fresh eggs, hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products

Discard

Custards and puddings, quiche

Discard

FRUITS

Fresh fruits, cut

Discard

Fruit juices, opened

Safe

Canned fruits, opened

Safe

Fresh fruits, coconut, raisins, dried fruits, candied fruits, dates

Safe

SAUCES, SPREADS, JAMS

Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish

Discard if above 50 °F for over 8 hrs.

Peanut butter

Safe

Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles

Safe

Worcestershire, soy, barbecue, hoisin sauces

Safe

Fish sauces, oyster sauce

Discard

Opened vinegar-based dressings

Safe

Opened creamy-based dressings

Discard

Spaghetti sauce, opened jar

Discard

BREAD, CAKES, COOKIES, PASTA, GRAINS

Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas

Safe

Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough

Discard

Cooked pasta, rice, potato