If you're one of the many New Yorkers that has just returned to your home after Hurricane Sandy knocked out your power, the New York Health Department has issued some important Food Safety and Water Guidelines that they want to make sure you see. Con-Edison has restored power to many areas, but before cooking up dinner or going back to your favorite restaurant, please take a look through these guidelines to make sure you and your family don’t accidentally ingest bacteria and pathogens that could’ve taken residence in your fridge and freezer while you were taking refuge.
1. Thawing frozen food can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and pathogens, so the Health Department recommends throwing away any perishable foods that were in your freezer. As food warms, bacteria, which can cause serious illnesses, thrives.
2. This may go without saying, but milk, meat, fish, eggs and leftovers that have been above 41 degrees for more than four hours need to be trashed.
3. Even if non-refrigerated food is packaged, if it touched flood waters, it should be discarded. This includes boxes of pasta, mac and cheese, microwave popcorn, boxed cake, etc. If it was in contact with flood water, it likely has been contaminated with dangerous bacteria so don’t take the risk.
4. You may think canned food is safe, but if the cans were dented or damaged by flood water, they run the risk of contamination. If the cans look dinged, throw them away.
5. Water has returned to most buildings, and residents should let their water run until it is cold and clear. Boiling or filtering before drinking can only help.
6. All of the above rules go for restaurants as well. The Health Department will begin making inspection rounds on November 12th to help give guidance on cleaning and disinfecting, but in the meantime, restaurants that were without power should heed the same tips, and assume that anything perishable should be thrown out.
The Health Department’s main message for food touched by the hurricane is “When in Doubt, Throw it Out,”- great advice to stay healthy after weathering the storm.
Via NYC. Gov