Eat Safe Food Fact Sheet

After a flood or power outage, some food may not be safe to eat and must be thrown out.
Read and follow the directions below carefully.
Throw out perishable food (such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, and leftovers) in your refrigerator when the power has been off for 4 hours or more.

Thawed frozen food that still contains ice crystals can be refrozen or cooked. If not, throw it away.

Do the following with food and containers that may have had contact with flood or storm water.

Throw out these foods:
  • Food with unusual odor, color, or texture
  • Cans or food containers that are bulging, open, or dented
  • Food not in waterproof containers or cans
  • Food canned at home
  • Food in cardboard containers (including juice, milk, and baby formula)
  • Food in containers with screw caps, snap lids, crimped caps, twist caps, flip tops, and snap-tops
Throw out these things:
  • Wooden cutting boards
  • Baby bottle nipples and pacifiers
Clean and sanitize things that touch food in a four-step process:
Cleaned dishes
  1. Wash with soap and clean water.
  2. Rinse with clean water.
  3. Sanitize by immersing for 1 minute in a solution of 1 cup (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) of chlorine bleach in 5 gallons of clean water.
  4. Allow to air dry.

When in doubt, throw it out.

For more information on safe food and water after a natural disaster, please

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