Toss or keep?


Water damage can lead to food loss. (Photo Credits)

During a bout with water damage most would err to the side of caution and just dispose whatever food item that has been subjected to the destruction. But are all food items that have been exposed to water damage need to be discarded?

The United States Food and Drug Administration came up with guidelines on food safety after a flooding incident. In their guidelines, they specified that there are still some food items that can be salvaged. But those that are packaged in paper and plastic need to be discarded immediately. They also shared a procedure on how to sanitize and disinfect canned food items that can still be consumed.

“Inspect the food and beverage containers thoroughly for damage. Discard any visibly damaged containers. Undamaged, commercially-prepared foods in all-metal cans or retort pouches can be saved if you remove the labels, thoroughly wash the cans, rinse them, and then disinfect them with a sanitizing solution consisting of 1 cup (8 oz/250 mL) of unscented household (5.25% concentration) bleach per 5 gallons of water. Allow the cans to air dry. Finally, re-label the containers, including the expiration date, with a marker. As an added precaution, if you are not sure if the container is damaged or not, FDA recommends boiling (rolling boil) the contents of the container for 5 minutes.”

The whole guideline can be printed from here.

Discarding Contaminated Food

The United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency also came up with a food advice for its constituents. Apart from guidelines on how to deal with flood contaminated food like packaged goods, produce and the like, they also shared how to discard the damaged goods.

“Put flood-damaged food in black plastic refuse sacks, double bagged if possible, seal and put out when your next refuse collection is due. Remember to check with insurers before disposal because food may be insured. Do not be tempted to try to salvage damaged food – including tins as they may be damaged or contaminated.”

Download a copy of the original article here.

Not all canned food is salvageable

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health also published guidelines for dealing with water-damaged food stuff. They reminded property owners that frozen goods that have been thawed needs to be evaluated, and at the same time food sealed in containers is not automatically salvageable if these food items have been submerged in the flood waters for a long period of time. Read more here            

“Generally, any product that is submerged beneath water is unsalvageable and must be destroyed, with the exception of product packaged in hermetically sealed containers. These products can be sanitized and relabeled without the content becoming contaminated. However, be aware that if these containers are not quickly removed from the water and dried, pinholes may develop, making the product unsalvageable.”

Check out the rest of the publication here.

Food safety is very important during episodes of water damage. Knowing how to deal with food damage is critical in ensuring the safety of the whole family.