Food Safety After a Hurricane

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During a bad storm, power outages and flood waters can contaminate foods in ways that aren't always obvious. This page is about food safety after a hurricane.
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We were 4 days in this situation this week due to Hurricane Ike, and 5 days due to Hurricane Gustav last week. First of all, know what you want from the fridge, retrieve it quickly, and close the door to keep the cold in. Secondly, make room on the middle shelf of your fridge to put a plastic container. I used a basin that came from my husband's last trip to the hospital, but you could use a gallon ice cream container or just a large mixing bowl. Fill it with ice cubes, and as the ice melts, replenish it. Save the water from the melted cubes to put in your toilet tank if you also have no water. This will enable you to flush the toilet. The ice kept my fridge at 40 degrees for the entire 4 days, so I didn't have any food spoilage.

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By Harlean from AR

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September 28, 2005

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is providing important tips to help people affected by these storms to protect their health and food supply. As Hurricane Katrina has been predicted to hit the Gulf Coast, the FDA wants area residents to be prepared for the storm and its aftermath.

If flooding occurs, an immediate evaluation of the stored food and water supply should be done. Perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs that are not properly refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed, even when it is thoroughly cooked.

Here's what FDA suggests consumers can do at home to keep their food safe:

Food safety when the power goes out

Once the power is restored

Food and Water Safety During Hurricanes and Floods

For more information on safe food handling, go to www.foodsafety.gov or call FDA's toll-free information line at 1-888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-3366).

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