MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Food borne bacteria can cause several illnesses and contributes to the greatest problems caused by hurricane or flood. According to DHEC, in high water and flooding, food, water and utensils can be contaminated with bacteria, sewage and chemical spillage.
The following foods should be thrown away and considered unsafe if they might have come in contact with contaminated flood waters according to DHEC:
Food and food products stored within paper, cloth or cardboard boxes/containers
Home canned foods
Flour, grains, sugar, and coffee in canisters or bags
Fresh meat, poultry and seafood
Any food in foil or cellophane
Fresh fruits and vegetables that do not have a peel or shell that can be removed before eating
Products with screw caps, twist caps, flip tops or snap lids. This will include products like sodas, bottled or canned juices, bottled water, condiments (mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise), peanut butter and jellies.
Throw away any plastic utensils, paper and plastic plates, wooden bowls and kitchen tools or any other non-food items made from a porous material.
Commercially canned foods without dents, leaks or bulges and undamaged canned foods are considered safe if properly cleaned and sanitized:
Remove the label and thoroughly wash the cans in warm soapy water and rinse with clean water;
Soak for 30-60 minutes in a solution of one ounce regular strength bleach to 6 gallons of water;
Re-label cans with a permanent marker, making sure to include the expiration date.
Wash and disinfect all non-food items made from non-porous material, such as tableware, china, glasses, silverware or other metal utensils.