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Food Safety During and After a Power Outage

The power in La Jolla has been restored, but is your frozen and refrigerated food safe for consumption?

La Jolla, like all of San Diego County, was without power for approximately 10 hours. Do you know what that means for the food that was in your refrigerator and freezer? 

Here’s a quick reference guide from the United States Department of Agriculture’s website:

Always keep meat, poultry, fish, and eggs refrigerated at or below 40°F and frozen food at or below 0°F. This may be difficult when the power is out.

  • The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened.
  • A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and if the door remains closed.
  • If you have food that was not held at, or above, the above recommended temperatures, you should throw it out. 

The La Jolla Patch surveyed local grocery stores to find out how they handled the blackout and whether or not they currently have perishable foods for sale. 

Here’s what we found out:

Bristol Farms Market, 8510 Genesee Ave., UTC: According to Assistant Store Manager Maria Fulks, Bristol Farms remained open during the blackout thanks to a backup generator, has a refrigerated truck on the premises, and is currently restocking perishables.

CVS Pharmacy, 7525 Eads Ave., La Jolla: As of press time, no milk or eggs. Sources at CVS say they expect a delivery of fresh products by noon.

, 7611 Fay Ave., La Jolla: According to Emmett Santos, one of the store’s managers, Jonathan’s will open as usual at 8 a.m. They are currently evaluating the condition of products in the deli section but think the dairy and frozen food products, which were packed into coolers or sealed in the cases that hold them, are OK.

, 2259 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla: As of press time, we were not able to get in touch with anyone from the La Jolla Shores Market.

, 8677 Villa La Jolla Dr., La Jolla: According to Jeff Smith, night crew manager, perishables at Ralphs were put into coolers and surrounded by dry ice. Smith said, “Everything is good.”

, 8657 Villa La Jolla Dr., La Jolla: According to store employee Lee Miller, all perishable items that were in the store are “being thrown out.” Miller said the store is hoping to reopen by 10 a.m., but that is not a certainty.

, 7544 Girard Ave., La Jolla: A compressor failure at Vons has left the store without saleable milk, yogurt or eggs.

, 8825 Villa La Jolla Dr., La Jolla: A backup generator was in operation at this location according to Associate Store Manager Douglas Bartlett. All perishable items are safe for purchase and consumption.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, these are the steps you can take to protect your perishables the next time power is out for longer than two hours:

“Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator as cold as possible. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for two days.”


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