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Keep your food safe after a storm, flood or power outage

As Queenslanders, we are no strangers to storms, floods, and power outages. But after the water recedes, the power comes back on, and the clean up begins there are some things to remember when it comes to keeping you and your food safe.

Natural disaster food and safety tips:

  • Protect yourself from possible contaminants and bacteria in or left by flood waters by always wearing rubber gloves and water-resistant clothing, including gumboots.
  • You should also wear goggles or a face mask to protect your eyes from any splashing water and cover any open wounds before you start cleaning.
  • Your health and safety are a priority. Do not take any unnecessary shortcuts or risks.
  • Boil suspected contaminated (dirty or cloudy) water for three minutes before drinking.
  • Take photos of damaged furniture, draperies, appliances, dishes, etc. and then remove from your house.
  • Reduce the risk of illness to you and your family by being food safe. A power outage can affect the safety of your food. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Always wash and dry your hands before preparing food.
  • Do not eat the food inside a fridge or freezer that was submerged in flood waters (even partially), discard it.

When the power goes off

  • Note down the time the power went off. When a power cut is ongoing, food safety becomes a pressing issue.
  • Some guidelines:
    • Power outages for less than 2 hours: refrigerate or use immediately
    • Power is out for longer than 2 hours but less than 4 hours: use immediately. If possible store food in alternative cold storage.
    • Power is out for 4 hours or longer: food must be thrown out.
  • Check out more information in this article from the¬†Food Safety Information Council.