The Environmental Health Division is advising the public that after a hurricane or flooding, people need to assess all food and food preparation areas and equipment to decide what to keep or throw away.
• Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water. If in doubt, throw it out.
• Do not eat foods that were thawed and refrigerated
• Do not eat food packed in plastic, paper, cardboard, cloth and similar containers that have been water damaged.
• Discard food and beverage containers with screw-caps, snap lids, crimped caps (soda bottles), twist caps, flip tops and home canned foods, if they have come in contact with flood water. These containers cannot be disinfected.
Food being consumed should not be spoiled or rotten. Be sure to examine your food for the following signs of spoilage:
1. Foul odor
2. Presence of slime especially on red meats
3. Mold growth
4. Abnormal color
Other useful tips are to:
• Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerated food cold.
• Group foods together in the freezer — this igloo effect helps the food stay cold longer.
• Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
• Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals.
• Never taste food to decide if it’s safe.