FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              Connecticut Department of Public Health

August 29, 2011                                                         Contact: William Gerrish

                                                                                   (860) 509-7270



HartfordWith thousands of households in the state without power, it is important to prevent getting sick from food that has spoiled or water that has been contaminated. The Department of Public Health provides the following tips to stay healthy in the aftermath of Irene: 


Food Safety: When in doubt, throw it out!

  • The refrigerator will keep food at proper temperature for about four hours if the doors are not opened. A full freezer will hold a safe temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full).
  • If the temperature in your refrigerator or freezer goes above 40 degrees, throw away perishable foods such as beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and cut fruits and vegetables.
  • Food can be safely refrozen if it still has ice crystals on it or has stayed below 40 degrees.
  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water. This includes packaged food items in plastic, paper, cardboard, cloth, and similar containers that may have been water damaged, as well as beverage containers with screw-caps, snap lids, crimped caps (soda bottles), twist caps, flip tops, and home canned foods, as these tops cannot be disinfected appropriately.
  • As always, if there is any doubt as to the safety of the food, it is best to discard the food rather than take a chance of contracting a foodborne illness. WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!

Drinking Water

  • Listen for water reports from local authorities to find out if your water is safe for drinking and bathing.
  • If an advisory has been issued concerning contaminated water, use only bottled, boiled, or treated water for drinking, cooking, food preparation, and hand washing.
  • Homeowners in flooded areas whose private wells have flooded should consider their wells contaminated. For information on disinfecting flooded wells, go to
  • Throw away any bottled water that may have come in contact with flood or storm water.

 For more information about staying safe and healthy after a disaster or storm, visit