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Fri April 19, 2013

The DuPage County Health Department is urging residents to follow these simple safety tips when it comes to consuming and handling foods that may be impacted by localized flooding and power outages.

Generally, do not eat any food that has come in contact with floodwater, including food in refrigerators or freezers.  All fresh fruits and vegetables exposed to floodwater should be thrown out, especially those in home gardens.  If the safety of any food or beverage is questionable, follow this simple rule: When in doubt, throw it out.

If the power has gone out, a fully stocked freezer will keep food frozen two days if the door remains closed.  A half-full freezer can keep foods frozen about one day.  Food in the refrigerator can normally stay cold for four to six hours.  Discard milk, cheeses and other foods prone to spoilage.  Completely thawed meats and vegetables should be discarded without question.   

For canned goods:

  • Throw out food in containers with cork-lined lids or caps, screw tops or pop tops that have been exposed to floodwater. They are nearly impossible to clean thoroughly around the opening.
  • Undamaged cans are usually safe. Wash them in bleach water (1/4-cup bleach per one gallon of water) for one minute, and then dry to prevent rusting.
  • If cans have dents or pitted rust spots that cannot be buffed off with a soft cloth, contamination may have entered through corroded holes so you should throw these out.
  • Cans with ends that bulge or spring in and out when pressed should be thrown out. Do not taste the contents in the cans.

For more information, follow the DuPage County Health Department on Facebook (DuPage County Health Department) and Twitter (@DuPageHD).