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Food Safety in an Emergency

Practicing safe food-handling is an important part of everyday life, but is especially important in emergency situations such as a flood, tornado, fire, water interruption or power outage.  Be sure to carefully inspect all food items and do not eat any food you think may not be safe. Spoiled food may not look contaminated. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out.  

For additional information please see the Ohio Department of Health fact sheets (printable versions) and links to external websites below:   

Food Service Operation Fact Sheets

Flooding in a FSO

When a flood occurs within a food service operation, there are potential health concerns that can be caused by the flood event. Prior to re-opening, the person-in-charge of a food service operation should conduct a complete self-inspection to ensure that normal operations can be resumed safety and without compromising food safety.

Click the following links to access the Flooding in a Food Service Operation fact sheet:

English    Spanish     Mandarin

Sewage backup in a FSO

The Sewage Backup in a Food Service Operation fact sheet provides information to food service operators on how to be prepared for and respond to a sewer backup within the operation, including guidance on proper cleaning and disinfecting affected areas prior to resuming normal operations.

Click the following links to access the Sewage Backup in a Food Service Operation fact sheet:

English     Spanish     Mandarin

Loss of Water Service in FSO

A sufficient supply of potable water is necessary in a food service operation for handwashing, food preparation, cleaning and sanitizing equipment, and other food service activities. Problems involving the water supply are especially important since water may serve as a direct vehicle of contamination to food or food contact surfaces.

Click the following links to access the Potable Water Interruption in a Food Service Operation fact sheet:

English     Spanish    Mandarin

Power Outage in FSO

Power outages occur for many reasons. This fact sheet provides information for food service operators to assess and respond to a power outage even, including temporary alternative procedures during the event, and resuming operations once power has been restored. This fact sheet also provides guidance on determining whether foods should be discarded following a power outage.

Click the following links to access the Power Outage in a Food Service Operation fact sheet:

English     Spanish     Mandarin

Fire in a FSO

A fire within a food service operation may affect the operation's ability to provide safe food to its customers. Information in this fact sheet will assist the operator in determining how to assess and recover from a fire event within the operation.

Click the following links to access the Fires and Food Safety in a Food Service Operation fact sheet:

English    Spanish     Mandarin

Vomit/Fecal Matter Cleanup

The Clean-Up Guidance for Vomit/Fecal Accidents in a Food Service Operation fact sheet provides information for food service operations to develop and implement a pan for cleaning and disinfect all affected surfaces within a food service operation after a vomit or fecal accident to prevent the spread of illness to employees and customers.

Click the following links to access the Clean-Up Guidance for Vomit/Fecal Accidents in a Food Service Operation fact sheet:     

English     Spanish     Mandarin

Websites:

    Emergency Preparedness (USDA)
     Provides materials, including videos and podcasts, on ensuring food safety during emergencies.

    Food and Water Safety During Hurricanes, Power Outages, and Floods (FDA)
     Proper safety precautions to keep food and water safe.

    Keep Food and Water Safe After a Disaster or Emergency (CDC)
     Includes tips for making water safe to drink and storing food.

    Food, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Information for Use Before and After a Disaster or Emergency (CDC)

    Chart: Refrigerated Food (foodsafety.gov)
     Is food in the refrigerator safe during a power outage? Use this chart to find out.

    Chart: Frozen Food (foodsafety.gov)
     Is thawed or partially thawed food in the freezer safe to eat? Use this chart as a guide.