Fridge died... What can be saved?

Sunday night we found that our freezer was losing power. I had to work all monday and when I got home late Monday night it was mostly dead. We are cleaning it out now and my friend wants to keep a lot of stuff. What can be kept? My instinct is to toss anything, but is there stuff that will survive a dead fridge?

If it could survive two or more days in a dead fridge, why was it in the fridge?

I’d just toss everything. And I do mean everything.

Unless you want to have a ptomaine picnic - in which case, be sure to have the local poison control agency’s phone number handy.

Cheese should be OK (by which I mean real cheese), as would whole salami (in most cases. Although scratch that if you live somewhere really warm.

Can you clarify if it is frozen or chilled goods that you are talking about?
Most things in the freezer will be fine as long as you don’t refreeze them. The proximity of lots of frozen items together inside an insulated box means that they stay reasonably well chilled anyway (providing the outside temperature is not too hot).
The fridge also probably stayed reasonably cold. Obviously things that you keep in there simply for chilling purposes (ie. beer, soft drinks etc) will be fine. I would think that most items in a fridge would be fine for 24 hours (again as long as the outside temperature is not too hot).

We lost power for 9 days during Hurricane Isobel, so I’m sympathetic.

I wouldn’t refreeze anything from the freezer that has defrosted. If you had a piece of meat that was in the middle of the pile and was still really good and hard, it might be okay. But anything that thawed needs to be cooked in the next day or so. One thing I did with some of my thawed meat was make meals for the freezer – I made lasagne and spaghetti sauce with ground meat; chicken enchiladas and chicken soup with chicken; and a huge vat of beef stew with an expensive roast that thawed out. Then I froze those cooked meals to be reheated later. Some things I did throw away – I had a package of frozen salmon I just didn’t trust, so I pitched it. Better safe than sorry.

I’d feel that way about any mayonnaise or mayo-based (tartar sauce, salad dressings) from the 'fridge itself, BTW. But if your mustard and ketchup are still fairly cool, I think you could trust them. Your milk and cream or half-and-half are goners. probably; but cheese and butter or margarine should be fine. Cured meat like salami will be okay; as should your eggs.

If the door had remained closed I wouldn’t throw away at all. Maybe fresh meats and fish past their use by dates but that would be all. Look at the open air refrigerators we buy meat and dairy from in supermarkets, they can’t be better temperature controlled than a sealed fridge.

I too wouldn’t refreeze anything. I’d probably chuck out any precooked leftovers as well.

If the door had remained closed I wouldn’t throw away much at all.

Be very careful.

This site has a good run down of what to do.

throw everything away immediately food poisoning is no joke and can be deadly especially for the young sickly and elderly