The outside temperature could vary hour by hour, so the temperature outside will not protect refrigerated or frozen food. Frozen food can thaw if it is exposed to the sun’s rays even when the temperature is very cold outside. Refrigerated food may become too warm and food-borne bacteria could grow.
Something else to consider is the food could be exposed to unsanitary conditions or to animals. Animals may harbor bacteria or disease so never consume food that has come in contact with an animal. Rather than putting the food outside, consider taking advantage of the cold temperatures by making ice. Fill buckets, empty milk cartons or cans with water and leave them outside to freeze. Then put the homemade ice in your refrigerator, freezer or coolers.
Additional food safety information can be found on the MissouriFamilies website.
Contributor: Maude Harris, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, firstname.lastname@example.org, 573.545.3516