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Top 10 Ways to Practice Food Safety During an Emergency
You stockpiled food in preparation for an emergency; now what? After you have your family’s favorite foods on hand, make sure they can be safely stored and consumed. Check out these top 10 tips to practice food safety in preparation for an emergency.
- Rotate your canned food supply. When new items are purchased, be sure to date or place in the back behind the older foods to be used first for optimum freshness.
- Ensure you have a minimum of 3-day supply of water. One gallon per person per day for consumption, cooking, and personal cleaning is recommended. It is ideal to have single serve water on hand, however if caught off guard, fresh tap water can be stored in clean food-safe containers.
- It is best to have thermometers in the freezer and refrigerator so that if there is a power outage, you can easily see if the food is safe to consume. Most freezers will maintain adequate temperatures for 48 hours as long as the door remains closed. Refrigerated food over 40 degrees for 4 hours is unsafe. A thermometer is a fool-proof way to verify food temperature is maintained in a safe zone.
- Plan and store plenty of foods that do not require cooking or cooling for a few days.
- Buy a supply of disposable items for easy clean-up such as paper plates, plastic utensils, aluminum foil and tins for cooking.
- Prepare for a non-electric cooking method. Sterno, woodstove or fondue pot is optimal for indoors; gas or charcoal grill for outdoors.
- If you are aware of a pending weather event, freeze large containers or bags of water to help keep food cooler longer.
- Storing some of the food essentials in large plastic containers may help keep food dry; also have food and supplies together in case of an evacuation.
- Don’t forget the manual can opener and store it with the canned food.
- Meals do not have to be complicated. Some non-cook suggestions include protein bars, graham crackers, low salt crackers or sandwiches with peanut butter and jelly, tuna sandwiches, soft tacos or wraps with canned meat, and any available additions such as onions or low salt beans.
Following these food safety tips can help keep you healthy and safe during an emergency. For a 3-day emergency diet plan read “Emergency Preparedness for People with Kidney Disease”.