You need to make sure food in your home or possession is safe to eat following a disaster or emergency.

Food can be harmful to you and your family if it has been contaminated.

You should consider all of the following:

  • eating food that has been contaminated or spoiled could make you ill
  • most perishable food in the tropics will spoil after three hours without refrigeration
  • you should throw out food that has been contaminated by floodwater or that has started to spoil - if in doubt, throw it out
  • don't open your fridge or freezer door unnecessarily. If the power has failed for longer than a day, food in refrigerators may be unsafe to eat.
  • food in the freezer will start to thaw unless the freezer was previously stocked with ice
  • eat perishable foods in your fridge first (such as dairy products and meat). These will spoil faster than frozen food.
  • partly thawed food should be eaten immediately, or may be cooked thoroughly and refrozen
  • don't refreeze partly thawed food.

Veggie gardens

Floodwater may have contaminated your vegetable or herb garden.

Some garden produce may be salvaged and sanitised. Peeling and cooking is recommended to prevent food illness.

Your garden will take about a month to become clean after floodwater inundations

Veggies to throw away

Throw away leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and Asian vegetables such as pak choy, as well as soft berries and herbs.

These are highly susceptible to bacterial contamination that is difficult to remove.

Veggies and fruit you can wash

Wash beans, peas, tomatoes, capsicums in water, and soak in a weak chlorine solution of two tablespoons chlorine bleach to four litres of water.

Peel and cook them thoroughly before eating.

For underground vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes, you should wash in water and sanitise as above.

Peel and cook thoroughly before eating.

Produce with a protective outer skin, such as peas, melons, corns or oranges, should be washed and disinfected before the outer shell, skin or husk is removed.

Shell, peel or husk the produce and cook if possible.

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