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Food Safety After a Flood

If you have lost power during the flood emergency, please review the following food safety considerations.

Potentially Contaminated Food

Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater, including:

  • Food from refrigerators and freezers, including condiments.
  • Dry food in damaged packages.

Perishable Food

Discard any perishable food that has been held at temperatures above 41°F for more than 4 hours.

Place food waste and other waste that rots or decays into plastic bags and place them in a designated area for separate collection. When in doubt, throw it out.

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
  • A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
  • Buy dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot fully-stocked freezer cold for two days.
  • If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs while it is still at safe temperatures, it's important that each item is thoroughly cooked to the proper temperature to assure that any foodborne bacteria that may be present is destroyed. However, if at any point the food was above 40 °F for 2 hours or more — discard it.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables with water from a safe source before eating.
  • For infants, try to use prepared, canned baby formula that requires no added water. When using concentrated or powdered formulas, prepare with bottled water if the local water source is potentially contaminated.

Foodborne illness often presents itself as flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. If you experience these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.

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Contacts

Food Safety Program

303-441-1564
Submit a question

www.BoulderCountyFood.org

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3450 Broadway
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Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. M-F

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