The danger of flood damage to commercial food


There are guidelines food establishments follow during flooding to prevent health and sanitary issues. (Photo Credits)

Food establishments stand to sustain a lot of damage during flooding occurrences. For one, clean up and restoration is already a lot of work given the extent of a flood damage. Secondly, it is problematic as well for them to sanitize and ensure food safety once they reopen for business.

The US Food and Drug Administration has come up with guidelines for food and retail establishments that may have incurred water or flood damage.

“Decontamination and sanitization procedures using chemical sanitization, e.g., chlorine bleach at a concentration of 100-200 ppm (1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 gallon of potable water), Quaternary Ammonium at a concentration of 200 ppm, or other approved sanitizers, should be used on equipment and structural surfaces that are salvageable. When you decontaminate, do so in a manner that eliminates any harmful microorganisms, chemical residues, or filth that could pose a food safety risk.”

Read the whole guidelines here.

Guidance on Reopening

The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service also came up with further guidelines for food retail establishments. These have all been posted in their official website.

“The owner or operator of any food establishment should notify the health department (provide 24/7 contact information) before opening for business.  A temporary or conditional operating license/permit might be considered if all public utilities, etc. are not yet available. Other applicable provisions of the state Food Code or local ordinance must be followed as usual.”

The complete guideline can be downloaded here.

Local Ordinance

Local ordinances and guidelines should likewise be followed during flooding events to ensure the safety of the general public. The North Dakota Public Health Department for instance has issued guidelines food retail business operators should follow during a flooding occurrence. This was posted in their official website. Read more here  

“Your establishment must immediately close and stop preparing food if you have a flood, fire, no electricity, no hot water, no running water, contaminated water, sewage backup or any circumstances that may endanger the public’s health.  Floodwaters will carry many contaminants that are hazardous to health.”

Check out the rest of the publication here.

It is in the best interest of food retail establishments to hire a professional water damage restoration contractor to help minimize further damage and speed up restoration and sanitation of their business. This way, business disruption will be minimized.