In This Section:
Food Safety During a Power Outage
Food Safety After a Fire
Food Safety After a Flood
Without power, a full upright or chest freezer will keep everything frozen for about 2 days. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for 1 day. Your refrigerator section will keep food cool for 4 to 6 hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
Tips to keep your food safe during a power outage:
Fires are extremely unfortunate events, and people often try to salvage what they can, including food. Fire can jeopardize the safety of food.
Smoke and Fumes
Toxic fumes released from burning materials are one of the most dangerous elements of a fire. Fumes and smoke from the fire can contaminate food and drink, making it unsafe to eat or drink.
Heat from the Fire
Heat from the fire may activate food spoilage bacteria in cans and jars, and can partially cook fresh foods. This can make previously safe food, unsafe. High heat may also cause cans and jars to split or rupture, making the food unsafe.
You should discard:
Cleaning After a Fire
To clean and sanitize:
It is important to understand that flood water can jeopardize the safety of food.
How does a flood make food unsafe?
Flood water may carry silt, raw sewage, oil or chemical waste. If the flood water comes into contact with food, it can contaminate the food and make it unsafe to eat. Unpackaged foods that come into contact with the flood water may be contaminated. Packaged food can also be contaminated when flood water covers or seeps into food containers.
What do I do with food that may be unsafe because of a flood?
Thoroughly inspect all food items and discard any food that has been contaminated by flood water. If you are in doubt about the safety of any food, throw it out rather than risk illness or disease.
Note: Food that has been contaminated or spoiled may not look different. You cannot usually see chemicals or pathogens on food.
The following food safety tips can assist you to determine which foods to discard and which to save.
You should discard:
Only food in commercially sealed, unopened, water proof airtight jars or metal cans should be considered safe once the containers are cleaned and sanitized according to the instructions in the cleaning section below.
How do I clean after a flood?
Clean and sanitize all areas and non-permeable equipment affected by flood water. This includes: utensils/silverware, cookware, dishware, food contact surfaces, food preparation equipment, floors, floor sinks, floor drains, and furniture.
Use the following cleaning and sanitizing method to clean and disinfect:
If applicable, closed undamaged cans containing food can be sanitized by placing them in water and allowing the water to boil and continue to boil for at least two minutes, or by immersing them for two minutes in a mild bleach solution made with 5ml (1 tsp) bleach per 750 ml (3 cups) of water. When sanitizing cans, remove labels prior to washing and sanitizing. Re-label cans after air drying. Cans that have been cleaned and sanitized should be used as soon as possible as they may rust.