Food Safety After A Fire


Discard food that has been near a fire. Three factors can affect food that has been exposed to fire: the heat of the fire, smoke fumes, and chemicals used to put out the fire.

One of the most dangerous elements of a fire is the release of toxic fumes from burning materials. These fumes can contaminate food, tableware, and cookware, as can toxic components from the chemicals used to put out the fire. Below are some guidelines to follow to ensure safety of food:

• Discard food in permeable packaging such as cardboard, plastic wrap, screwed topped jars and bottles stored outside the refrigerator

• Discard raw foods such as fruits and vegetables that were stored outside the refrigerator.

Emergency Response logo Check the refrigerator and freezer for off odors. Doors on the units’ do not seal airtight and fumes can contaminate within. Discard any foods that have off odors in the unit

• Decontaminate canned goods, tableware and cookware by washing in soap and hot water, and then submerge for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach per quart of water.

• Discard any canned foods that smell or look spoiled, as heat damage may have occurred.

For more information, please contact the Fairfax County Health Department 703-246-2444; TTY: 711.


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