What do you do with your food after your basement has flooded? First, do not eat any food that has come in contact with floodwater. Consider the flood water to be contaminated.
Get rid of the following types of food.
- Opened containers and packages which have come in contact with floodwaters.
- Unopened jars and bottles with screw top lids such as those containing mayonnaise or salad dressing. The water will get up into the threads and you cannot decontaminate them.
- Any foods in paper, cloth, fiber or cardboard boxes, even if the contents seem dry. This includes salt, cereals, pasta products, rice and any sealed packages of crackers, cookies or mixes.
- Dented seams, bulging, rusty or leaking tin cans.
- Home-canned foods, this is a bit more controversial. While water can get under the threads, you can remove the locking rings and if the seal is still good, you may be able to decontaminate the jars.
Products properly sealed in cans or foil pouches can be used after the container is rinsed with clean water and immersed for 15 minutes in a freshly made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of clean drinking water. The containers should be completely air-dried before opening or storing. If you lack bleach, you can submerge the cans in boiling water.
One of the problems you would encounter is the fact that the labels would be damaged or destroyed. This would present a problem in identifying the contents of your cans. You would have food to eat, but you might have a strange menu.