Keep food safe after power outages, ADPH advises

Press release from the Alabama Department of Public Health

The Alabama Department of Public Health advises caution with food and drinking water in the aftermath of recent tornadoes. Do not taste any food or drink you think is spoiled. Identify and throw away food that may not be safe to eat.

· Throw away food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.

· Throw away perishable foods (including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours or more.

· Thawed food that contains ice crystals or is 40 degrees F or below can be refrozen or cooked.

· Throw away canned foods that are bulging, opened or damaged.

· Do not use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice or make baby formula.

Finally, do not use your fireplace for cooking until the chimney has been inspected for cracks and damage. Sparks may escape into your attic through an undetected crack and start a fire.

Feeding infants and young children

· Breastfed infants should continue breastfeeding. For formula-fed infants, use ready-to-feed formula if possible. If using ready-to-feed formula is not possible, it is best to use bottled water to prepare powdered or concentrated formula. If bottled water is not available, use boiled water. Use treated water to prepare formula only if you do not have bottled or boiled water.

· If you prepare formula with boiled water, let the formula cool sufficiently before giving it to an infant.

· Clean feeding bottles and nipples with bottled, boiled or treated water before each use.

· Wash your hands before preparing formula and before feeding an infant. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer for washing your hands if the water supply is limited

How you dispose of unsafe food depends on your garbage collection service. If it is operating, wrap the unsafe food tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Store the container in an area away from people and animals until it can be collected.

If your collection service is not in operation, check with your city or county government for safe disposal information.

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