During the spring season, be prepared for heavy rains and the possibility for flooding.
In the Illinois Valley, we have seen our share of flooding this year. University of Illinois Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator Susan Glassman offers flood resources for food safety that are available on their website at https://extension.illinois.edu/blmp.
Floodwaters may carry silt, raw sewage, oil or chemical wastes. Filth and disease-causing bacteria in floodwater will contaminate food, making it unsafe to eat.
Glassman commented, “Be aware of what you can keep and what has to be thrown out with flood contaminated foods.”
It’s important to take the proper precautions to prevent illness from unsafe food. What’s considered unsafe? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention shares guidelines on their website for after a disaster, They recommend to throw out food that may have come in contact with flood or stormwater; perishable foods that have not been refrigerated properly due to power outages; and those with an unusual odor, color or texture. Unsafe food can make you sick even if it looks, smells and tastes normal. Remember, “When in doubt, throw it out.”
According to FoodSafety.gov, after a flood, Glassman noted, “Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood or stormwater.” Throw away and salvage with the following guidelines:
• Food with an unusual odor, color or texture.
• Food in packages that are not waterproof.
• Food in cardboard containers, including juice/milk/baby formula boxes.
• Food containers with screwcaps, snap-lids, crimped caps, twist caps, flip tops and snap tops.