Tainted Foods are Serious Hazards Following a Disaster

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Release date: 
October 15, 1999
Release Number: 
1299-29

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Storms may cause conditions that affect your food and water safety, warn federal and state disaster recovery officials.

"Keeping people out of harm's way is an essential component of FEMA's Project Impact commitment," Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Coordinator Larry Bailey said. "Advising residents about potential serious hazards, like tainted foods and water, is part of that initiative."

If you live in a storm-prone area, plan ahead for proper food storage. Keep freezer-pak inserts in your freezer and a cooler handy. If you buy dry ice be sure to wear gloves or use tongs when moving it; dry ice registers minus 109.3 degrees F.

Consider all well water and other water delivery systems unsafe until tested. Drink only approved or chlorinated water, or bottled water. Boiling water reduces contamination. Put the water in a clean, covered container, bring to a boil and continue boiling for at least 10 minutes.

Discard canned foods that have dents or broken seams. Food that has been under floodwater or has had floodwater seep into its container is unsafe. Canned foods without dents or bulges can be saved. Potatoes and fruits with peels can be salvaged. However, any salvaged foods must be washed and sanitized.

Remember: If in doubt, throw it out!

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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