After the Storm, Be Careful What You Eat

Irene #031 – 10 a.m.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

  • Food covered by waters from a flood or sewage backup may be contaminated and must not be consumed.   Fruits, vegetables, packaged goods, metal, plastic and glass food and beverage containers with press caps, screw caps and pull rings need to be destroyed if even partially submerged in flood waters or exposed to sewage.  The exception to this is sound, sealed, metal cans.  Un-dented cans may be washed (with labels removed) and sanitized.  To sanitize, submerge the can for one minute in a solution of bleach water.  The sanitizing solution is made by mixing two tablespoons of regular (unscented) liquid bleach with one gallon of water.  Covering cans with boiling water for 10 minutes will also sanitize them.
  • If electrical power is interrupted, use extreme care when consuming your refrigerated and frozen perishable foods.  When foods, such as meats and dairy products, are held at temperatures greater than 41 degrees F. for more than a few hours, microorganisms may multiply, placing you and your family at risk for a food-borne illness. Discard any potentially hazardous food that has exceeded 41 degrees F.  for greater than two hours.  Once frozen food has thawed, remaining at less than 41 degrees F., it must be cooked and eaten immediately.  Discard leftovers if you cannot maintain the food at a safe temperature.  Keep a food thermometer on hand to monitor these important temperatures.
  • Never use a gas or charcoal grill to cook indoors!  This may release poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide, causing illness or death.
  • You can use your fireplace, candle warmers, chafing dishes and fondue pots to heat food.  Canned foods can be eaten right from the can.

For the most up-to-date information regarding Hurricane Irene citizens are urged to stay tuned to local television and radio stations as well as the outlets listed below:

  • City’s VBTV Channels: Cox Cable 46, 47 & 48 and Verizon Cable 45, 46 & 47 will display emergency information including our City operational status and facilities closure notices
  • Television Channels: WTKR 3, WAVY 10 and WVEC 13
  • Local radio stations
  • Social Media Sites:
  • Citizen Services: 311 (landlines within City limits) or 385-3111; provides the City’s current operating condition status and facilities closure notices; please do not call 911 unless you have an emergency.

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