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Food Safety Tips During and After a Flood

The Center For Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following food safety precautions for those affected by flood waters.

  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
  • Discard any food without a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water.
  • Undamaged, commercially canned foods can be saved if you remove the can labels, thoroughly wash the cans, and then disinfect them with a solution consisting of one cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water. Re-label your cans, including expiration date, with a marker.
  • Food containers with screw-caps, snap-lids, crimped caps (soda pop bottles), twist caps, flip tops, and home canned foods should be discarded if they have come into contact with flood water because they cannot be disinfected.
  • For infants, use only pre-prepared canned baby formula that isn't condensed and doesn't require added water. Do not use powdered formulas prepared with treated water.


What to do with frozen and refrigerated foods if you loose power:

If your refrigerator or freezer may be without power for a long period:

  • Divide your frozen foods among friends' freezers if they have electricity

  • Seek freezer space in a store, church, school, or commercial freezer that has electrical service 
  • Use dry ice - 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for three to four days. (Exercise care when handling dry ice, because it freezes everything it touches. Wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.)

Thawed food can usually be eaten or refrozen if it is still "refrigerator cold," or if it still contains ice crystals. To be safe, remember, "When in doubt, throw it out." Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.

Your refrigerator will keep foods cool for about 4 hours without power. Add block or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity will be off longer than 4 hours.

For more information see the complete CDC Prevention Guide

Related Products:

For small to moderate flooding:
Flood Barriers

For moderate to heavy flooding:
Sandless Sandbags

For heavy to severe flooding:
Water Gate

Related Information:

Flood / Emergency:

Flood Safety Tips: Food Safety

Flood Safety Tips: Safe Drinking Water

Emergency Preparation: Create an Inventory of Your Home

Be Prepared: What to do before a flood