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How long does the food in your fridge and freezer last during a power outage?

When in doubt, throw it out!

NEW ORLEANS — When the lights go out, you’ve got to think about your food in the fridge and freezer.

Liz Williams has no electricity after Zeta’s strong winds blew a power line down into her Chalmette back yard. With no power, one of her first thoughts was the food in her fridge – she’s the founder of the Food and Beverage Museum after all.

“I think the freezer and the refrigerator are different animals,” Williams said.

The CDC’s tight guidelines say you should throw out all perishable foods, like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers in your refrigerator after four ours or more with power.

A full freezer will keep food safe for 48 hours.

Williams says the food won’t even make it that long if you’re opening the door though.

"If you are opening and closing the refrigerator -- yeah -- it's lost --- because you've lost all the cool and there is nothing replenishing it,” Williams said.

If your frozen food has thawed, the CDC says you can still eat it if it contains ice crystals. Williams agrees, but says to do it quick.

"What you need to do is have a cooking marathon and cook everything that you can or else give it to your neighbors or something like that,” she said.

And remember, unsafe food can make you sick even if it looks and smells normal. So when in doubt, throw it out.

If you move your food into an ice chest, you’ve got to keep it at 40 degrees or lower by adding ice.

For a comprehensive list of which foods you can save, visit FoodSafety.Gov.

RELATED: Most New Orleans power restoration won't start until Friday, could take up to 10 days

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