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Food Safety After An Earthquake

San Bernardino County Environmental Health Services would like to extend the following message to affected residents about the effects of food safety after an earthquake.

After a significant earthquake, people try to save what they can, including food. Saving food may not always be a good idea. Power may have been lost during the earthquake. Consider the following while assessing your food.

  • Keep the refrigerator doors closed to maintain the cold temperature inside the cooler. Further protect food by placing it in clean ice and/or dry ice in the cooler.
  • Check the food’s temperature by using a thermometer. Food that has been between 41°F and 135°F for more than 4 hours must not be eaten.
  • Don’t refreeze thawed food. If partially thawed food contains ice crystals, it can be refrozen, refrigerated or cooked.
  • Food containers may have been damaged or contaminated during the earthquake. Discard any foods in glass containers if the containers cracked or broke. Glass pieces may contaminate the food and if consumed may result in a serious injury. Dented cans may allow for bacteria to grow within the can, contaminating the food. Discard foods or food containers that are bulging, opened or damaged. Throw away the food if the container spurts liquid or foam when you open it or the food inside is discolored, is moldy or smells bad. Discard any food that may have come in contact with flood or sewage water.
  • The water supply may not be potable. Water lines may have been compromised. Do not use water you suspect or have been told is contaminated to brush your teeth, prepare food, wash dishes, wash your hands, make ice or make baby formula. Safe water for drinking includes bottled, boiled or treated water.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. Remember! You can’t rely on appearance or odor to tell if food will make someone sick.

For more information, contact the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283.

Download ‘Ready SB’ app for emergency alerts

Being prepared for a wildfire or other disaster starts with making a plan. That’s why the San Bernardino County Office of Emergency Services created the ‘Ready SB’ app.  During a disaster, use Ready SB to receive emergency alerts, evacuation and shelter information, live up-to-date traffic reports, contact information of nearby resources, and everything you need to know to stay safe before, during, and after a disaster. 

Download here:

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