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Food safety in an emergency

(February 2017)

food safety in an emergency infographic. for a more detailed explaination email information@foodstandards.gov.au

There are a few things to remember before, during and after and emergency to keep your food safe

Before

  • Have a supply of long-life items including milk, bottled water and canned goods. 
  • Prepare eskies with ice bricks or gel packs to keep food cold if the power goes out.
  • Keep a can opener handy.
  • Don't forget about food for infants or pets.
  • Store food somewhere above floodwater if there's a risk of flooding.
  • Have a supply of drinking-quality water, detergent, bleach and alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

During

  • Keep food cold, clean and check the label.
  • Keep the fridge door closed as much as possible.
  • A fridge should keep food cold for around four hours – after that it can begin to spoil.
  • Keep the freezer door closed as much as possible.
  • A freezer shouldn’t defrost for around 24 hours.
  • If frozen foods have thawed don’t refreeze!

After 

  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser to wash hands if drinking water is limited.
  • Throw out food that has touched flood water or has an unusual smell, colour or texture. Don’t taste it to see if it’s OK.
  • Check canned foods and throw out any cans that are dented, swollen, damaged or leaking.
  • Throw out food that has been near fire, including food in cans and jars even if they appear OK.

If in doubt, throw it out!

For more information on food safety during and emergency, please visit state and territory website below:

Australia

New Zealand

There is general advice about food safety on the Food Safety Information Council’s website.

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