Must Know Food Safety Tips For When Severe Weather Strikes
Every region of the earth experiences tumultuous weather from time to time, whether it be from fires, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis ect… These severe weather conditions affect a community in many dangerous ways, one being their food and drink. These conditions often leave entire populations without electricity to heat and cool food, without clean running water, and sometimes with toxic smoke contamination in food and water.
Australia’s devastating bushfires have caused the death of 25 people and over a billion animals, destroyed over a thousand homes, and torched 15.6 million acres of land. This remarkably early and severe bush fire season has left many people without electricity or running water, in addition to intense toxic fumes in the air.
The Food Safety Information Council recognize the dangerous effects on food and water safety during severe weather such as this. The council addressed this by publishing food safety advice for the people of Australia, which also prove relevant for other severe weather situations in other regions.
Lydia Butchmann, The Food Safety Information Council Communications Director, responded to consumer inquiries stating, “One of the dangers of a fire can be toxic fumes from burning materials. Chemicals used to fight the fire can also contain toxic materials. The heat from a fire can cause bacteria in food to multiply”. She continued by laying out several key points to remember during a fire which are as follows:
- throw out any food that has been near a fire, including food in cans and jars even if it appears ok
- any raw food, or food in packaging such as cardboard, plastic wrap, screw-topped jars and bottles should also be thrown out
- throw out food from a refrigerator as the refrigerator seal isn’t airtight, fumes can get inside
- wash cooking utensils exposed to fire-fighting chemicals in soapy hot water, then sanitize in 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach per 2 liters of water and rinse
- If your power has gone out your food will remain safe in your refrigerator for 2 hours.
- If it has been more than 4 hours, throw the food out.
- Don’t open the fridge door during the power cut, unless necessary.
- The best option is to keep the refrigerated foods as cold as possible by not opening the door unless necessary to remove food to eat or check the temperature after 2 hours. or place items in the freezer.