Q: I lost power for about 10 hours earlier this week. How can you tell when you need to throw food out of your refrigerator after a lengthy outage like that?


Answer: When a refrigerator or freezer is without power, the food inside will not go bad immediately, but the longer the power is off, the greater the chance of the temperature rising and food spoiling. Keeping your refrigerator door closed will keep the food safe longer. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened, according to FDA guidelines.

Some food, such as hard cheese, can go without refrigeration longer than other foods. Recently purchased, unopened items have a better chance of survival than food close to its expiration date.

The main rule is: When in doubt, throw it out. The FDA recommends discarding any perishable foods — including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers — that have been at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more.

If food looks or smells strange, or looks and smells fine but tastes bad at first bite, do not keep it around. It’s better to waste questionable food than to suffer the gastrointestinal effects of eating spoiled food.

A well-insulated freezer should keep food in good condition for 24 hours, or even longer if the freezer is full, according to the FDA. Home economists say that as long as frozen foods still have ice crystals on them, they can be refrozen.

One tip for the future: put a small container of water in your freezer and let it freeze, then leave a penny on top of it. You will be able to tell if the ice melted and then refroze by the penny’s location in the ice.

Q: What has happened to the page of the Sunday Business section that had stock prices, exchange rates and so on?


Answer: SAM heard from several readers upset about that change. The stock tables and other information will be back this Sunday. They were left out because of space issues caused by a new press configuration.

Q: I am having a hard time getting answers from Windstream about my cable/internet service. I have been on the phone with multiple representatives who cannot help me. Can you help me with a contact that can help answer my questions?


Answer: “We’ve resolved this issue with the customer,” said Scott Morris, a spokesman for Windstream, in a response after we forwarded him your complaint. He said the best number for other customers needing assistance is 800-347-1991.

Q: Do you know of any channel where we will be able to watch “Jeopardy!” on the evenings when it is omitted due to football games?


Answer: WFMY CBS-2 is shifting broadcasts of shows that are preempted to later the night they would normally air, according to Larry Audas, the president and general manager of the station. In tonight’s schedule, for example, a Carolina Panthers/New England Patriots game will start at 7:30 p.m., so he said tonight’s “Jeopardy!” will air overnight at 3:37 a.m. Friday. Also airing overnight: “Big Brother” at 1:37 a.m., “The Big Bang Theory” at 2:37 and “Young Sheldon” at 3:07.

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Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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