Food Safety Considerations After a Flood

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Communities in Western North Carolina have recently experienced floodwater damage and need to know important food safety information as they work on recovery. Floodwater can bring silt, raw sewage, oil, and chemicals into your kitchen and contaminate stored food making it unsafe to eat. Consider these recommendations for keeping food safe after a flood.

Kitchen Clean Up After Flooding

Compounds in floodwater can leave dangerous bacteria or chemicals on your food or utensils and equipment such as pots, pans, serving and storage containers making food unsafe to eat. Proper cleaning and sanitizing can help keep food safe. For safety, water for cleaning should be of the same quality as that used for drinking or cooking.

More information

Sanitizing after a flood flyer

Safe Food After Flooding

As individuals go through their kitchen and start to sift through their food, there are certain foods that are safe to keep and others that need to be tossed for safety reasons. Foods in waterproof food storage containers or commercially prepared jars, cans, and retort pouches that have contacted flood waters can be kept if they are properly cleaned and sanitized.

More information

Safe food after a flood

Garden Recovery After Flooding

There is an increased risk of E. coli, Listeria, Vibrio, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, and Norovirus when eating produce from a flooded garden. If produce is unfit to eat because of floodwaters, do not can.

More information

For all other food safety disaster preparedness and recovery resources such as experiencing power outages, boil water advisories, etc., see the Disaster Preparedness website.

Written By

Candice Christian, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionCandice ChristianArea Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety Serves 33 CountiesBased out of Agricultural & Human SciencesCall Candice Email Candice Agricultural & Human Sciences
NC State Extension, NC State University
Posted on Aug 24, 2021
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