Since we never know when a disaster may strike, it just makes sense to have a food supply on hand. The American Red Cross recommends keeping a three-day supply of food, but most of us who do the research realize that this is not nearly enough. We have already seen major disasters that left ordinary people without food (and water) for weeks and even months. If you don’t have at least a three-month emergency food supply (a six-month food supply or a year food supply really makes more sense), you may be putting yourself in danger.
Another way that you can put yourself in danger is by not practicing good food safety in your emergency food. If your supplies are spoiled, moldy, stale or devoid of nutrition (which can happen if your food is too old or not adequately protected), when disaster hits, you will find yourself in serious trouble.
Here are seven good food safety tips that will ensure that your emergency food prepping is safe for you and your family.
- Keep your emergency food supply in a convenient location. This will allow for frequent checks of your food, and easy rotation of your emergency food stock.
- When storing your emergency food supply, choose a location that is clean, cool, and away from any heat, cold or extreme changes in temperature.
- Select non-perishable foods that do not require refrigeration, complicated preparation or cooking. Food that is made specifically for emergency preparation is ideal. Look for expiration dates of 15-25 years.
- Add in some food that can be safely eaten cold, such as canned or dried fruit, tuna, peanut butter, crackers, granola bars, etc. Date these items as you purchase them.
- Stock disposable dishes and silverware. Reusing dirty plates and utensils can cause illness.
- When in doubt, throw it out. Get rid of dented, bulging, rusty or leaking cans, open boxes, jars with loose lids, etc. The risk just isn’t worth it. Replace these items before you need them.
- Don’t forget to store water, both for drinking and for food preparation. You will need at least one gallon, per person per day, more for pregnant or nursing mothers, and of course extra to use for food prep.