|Script: Food Safety After
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection
Service "Food Safety At Home" podcast series, featuring topics
for the safe handling, preparation and storage of meat, poultry
and processed egg products. So, sit back, turn up the volume and
Letís talk about food safety after a flood.
Severe storms routinely cause power outages and increase the
likelihood of flooding.
After flood waters recede, you need to determine which foods are
safe to keep and which should be thrown away. Hereís how:
First of all, never eat any food that may have come into contact
with flood water.
Throw away any food not in a water proof container if there is
the chance it came into contact with flood water, such as
containers with screw-caps, snap-lids, crimped caps (soda pop
bottles), twist caps, flip tops, and home canned foods should be
discarded because they cannot be cleaned and sanitized.
Cardboard juice and milk boxes, baby food and formula jars
should also be thrown away because they can't be effectively
cleaned and sanitized.
Throw away any food in damaged cans. Cans are damaged if they
show signs of swelling, deep rusting, leakage, have punctures,
holes or fractures, or if crushing or denting is severe enough
to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual can opener.
Now, about the safety of drinking waterÖ
As with food, you can use any bottled water that has not come
into contact with flood water.
If you donít have bottled water, the next best thing is to boil
water to make it safe to drink. Boiling will kill most types of
disease-causing organisms. If the water is cloudy, you can first
filter it through clean cloths or allow the sediment to settle.
Pour the clean water and boil for one minute, let it cool, and
store it covered in clean containers with covers.
If boiling isnít an option, you can disinfect water with
household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of
disease- causing organisms. If the water is cloudy, filter it
through clean cloths or allow the sediment to settle. Then add
1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid
household bleach for each gallon of water, stir well and let it
stand for 30 minutes before drinking. Store disinfected water in
clean containers with covers.
If you have a well that you think was flooded or contaminated,
do not drink that water until itís tested. Please contact your
local or State health department or agriculture extension agent
for their advice first.
They could also offer advice on the safety of consuming
homegrown vegetables from your garden plot.
For steps on how to salvage metal cans that come in contact with
flood water, please visit
www.fsis.usda.gov and view A Consumerís Guide to Food
Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes.
Thanks for listening to this Food Safety At Home podcast. Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending
your comments to
Last Modified: July 6, 2011