Managing Food Supplies

Regular sources of food can be disrupted during and after emergencies, you may need to rely on the supplies you have at hand. 

Here are some tips:


  • Keep food in covered containers
  • Keep cooking and eating utensils clean
  • Keep garbage in closed containers and dispose outside, burying garbage if necessary
  • Keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected
  • Use only pre-prepared canned baby formula for infants
  • Discard any food that has come into contact with contaminated floodwater
  • Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more
  • Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture


  • Eat foods from cans that are swollen, dented, or corroded, even though the product may look safe to eat
  • Eat any food that looks or smells abnormal, even if the can looks normal
  • Use powdered formulas with treated water
  • Let garbage accumulate inside, both for fire and sanitation reasons

Note: Thawed food usually can be eaten if it is still “refrigerator cold.” It can be re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals. To be safe, remember, “when in doubt, throw it out.”


  • Alternative cooking sources in times of emergency include candle warmers, chafing dishes, fondue pots, or a fireplace.
  • Charcoal grills and camp stoves are for outdoor use only.
  • Commercially canned food may be eaten out of the can without warming.
  • To heat food in a can:
    • Remove the label
    • Thoroughly wash and disinfect the can. (Use a diluted solution of one part bleach to ten parts water.)
    • Open the can before heating.