After a Flood: Food Safety Part 3 Human and Pet Food

BEN CHAPMAN:>>Hi, I’m Dr. Ben Chapman,
food safety specialist at NC State University. Today we are at a house where there’s some
severe flood damage. We are going to go take a look at areas where
food might be prepared and stored and take a look at some of the issues that might happen
after a flood. One of the most common questions that we would
receive in Cooperative Extension about what to do when recovering from a flood is, ‘What
kinds of food can I salvage?’ ‘What kinds of food can I not?’ And we have to really remember that floodwater,
we really don’t know the safety of it, and we have to assume when it’s brown, when
it’s black, even when it’s not changed color, that there might be contaminants – that
it’s overflowed from a septic system or any other even chemicals that are around. So food gets really questionable. And the rule really to follow in this situation
is anything that’s not in a water-tight, water-sealed container really can’t be salvaged. And when I say that, what do I mean? Well, even when you think about plastic wrap
on the outside of food that it looks like it’s water tight, there are often seams
and other areas where water can get in. We do think about foods like canned goods
where that is something that could be salvaged – and these are commercially canned foods,
not our home preserved or home canned items, where we may have some issues with the lids
not staying on in a flood situation, but a canned good, you can remove the outside of
the wrapper of that, and do some cleaning and sanitizing of the container, but you really
have to check to make sure there’s not any leaking from the seams or bulging before that
cleaning and sanitizing happens. Pet food and human food really should be treated
the same. We want to make sure that we are making sure
that our pets are also as healthy and … safe as we are. Pet food follows the exact same rules as it
would be for human food, where a packaging like this would not withstand any of the floodwaters
that might affect it and you can have water that permeates through that. It would definitely be something that I would
say is at higher risk compared to something that would be in a totally sealed container
like tin-can dog food would be. For more information on this, contact your
local NC State Extension office or go to the NC State disaster recovery website.

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