Elizabeth S. Reames | 6/9/2005 9:46:32 PM
Besides the obvious property damage that floodwaters cause, the household food supply could end up a total loss. "Destroy all food that has been in contact with floodwaters," advises LSU AgCenter food safety expert Dr. Beth Reames.
The food safety specialist says fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as vegetables in the home garden, should be destroyed if they’ve come in contact with floodwater. The same is true for meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Also toss opened containers and packages, plus flour, sugar, grain, coffee and other staples in canisters. Discard spices, seasonings and extracts touched by floodwater.
Wooden spoons, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers should be discarded, too. Reames says washing them will not eliminate the danger.
The specialist lists other, not-so-obvious foods to throw away:
"Destroy all foods that were covered by water which may have been contaminated with industrial waste," Reames emphasizes, adding, "This includes those foods sealed in unopened cans."
Reames says foods in sealed cans and commercial glass jars of food without cardboard seals not fouled by industrial waste may be safe to eat if the cans don't have bulges or leaks, but she cautions that you must disinfect before you open them.
She recommends following these sanitizing steps:
As an overall precaution, Reames says, "If you have a question about the safety of any item, dispose of it."
For additional flood recovery information, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office or visit www.lsuagcenter.com.