November 2, 2012 – The Health Department is announcing food safety and water guidelines to help New Yorkers stay healthy and safe as power is restored in neighborhoods across the City. Food that came into contact with flood waters is potentially contaminated and may cause serious illness or death and must be discarded. When frozen food thaws, and refrigerated food warms, bacteria and other pathogens grow that can also cause serious illnesses, and also needs to be discarded. As power is restored and New Yorkers return to their homes, the Health Department recommends the following:
- Throw away any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, mayonnaise or leftovers) that has been above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours or more.
- Throw away any food (including packaged food) that was touched by flood water. IF IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT.
- Given that many residents have been without power since Sunday or Monday, we recommend that all perishable food be thrown away – whether it was in your refrigerator or freezer.
- Inspect canned food and throw away any food in damaged cans.
New York City’s Water
When reoccupying a building that lost water due to the power outage, residents and occupants should let their water run until it is cold and clear. In buildings where water tanks were depleted, owners have been directed to flush them before resuming water supply to the building.
New York City Restaurants
Hurricane Sandy also affected many of the City’s 24,000 restaurants. Restaurant inspectors will be visiting restaurants that suffered power and water outages to provide guidance on discarding food, cleaning and disinfecting, and other procedures for protecting the public. The Department will resume its regular restaurant inspection program on November 12th. Health Department also issued guidelines for food service establishments.
A complete list of guidelines for restaurant owners can be found here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/rii/foodservice.shtml.
For more food safety and water information for both residents and restaurant owners, please visit nyc.gov/health.