Food Safety & Emergencies

Safely using produce from flooded gardens after flooding occurs, gardeners often raise questions about the safety of consuming produce from gardens that were under water for a day or two. How concerned gardeners have to be about using garden produce after a flood depends, to a large degree, on how “clean” the flood water was or whether it was likely to have been contaminated with sewage, river or creek water, farm run-off, or industrial pollutants. The by rule of thumb you should discard all produce that was touched by flood water. However, if flooding occurs early, with weeks left in the growing season gardeners can salvage some crops. The following publication includes tips for considering what can be salvaged and what must be discarded from a flooded garden. Safely Using Produce from Flooded Gardens

USDA Food Recalls

USDA Food Product Dating Fact Sheets – “Sell by Feb 14” is a type of information you might find on a meat or poultry product. Are dates required on food products? Does it mean the product will be unsafe to use after that date? Here is some background information which answers these and other questions about product dating.

Steam Canners Recommendations
Steam Canner are not recommended because processing times for use with current models have not been adequately researched. Because steam canners do not heat foods in the same manner as boiling-water canners, their use with boiling-water process times may result in spoilage. The USDA and the UW-Extension does not recommend these steam canners, even though they are being promoted as a time-saving option for water bath canning.

Grill It Safely!
This article from the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension provides tips on safe grilling. Topics include shopping, preparation, transporting and grilling.

Storing Water for Short-Term Emergencies
Most people can live only a few days without water. In preparing to store water for emergencies, keep at least a three-day supply of water for each person in your household. Stocking water reserves and learning how to purify contaminated water should be among your top priorities in preparing for an emergency.

Storing Food for Short-Term Emergencies
Planning ahead for situations when you may need an emergency food supply is a good idea. How much and which foods to store will depend on the members of your household, your preferences, special health conditions, ability to use the food in an emergency, space for storage, and how far you live from a market. Planning for short-term emergency food needs may be as simple as increasing the quantities of some staple foods and nonperishable foods that you normally have on hand.

The Power is Off: Is the Food Still Safe?
If the power goes off in your home due to a winter storm or an unexpected summertime power outage, it may be difficult to determine whether the food in your refrigerator or freezer is safe to consume. This fact sheet will help you to decide whether to keep or discard food items in your home.

Egg Safety
It’s spring – the season to enjoy the great outdoors and celebrate special occasions, like Easter. While eggs are used throughout the year, they are especially important for many spring activities. They are used for cooking festive delights and for decorating and hiding just before the big Easter egg hunt. If you have questions or concerns about eggs check out the American Egg Board at or the Egg Nutrition Center at

  • Dry meringue shells are safe. So are divinity candy and 7-minute frosting, made by combining hot sugar syrup with beaten egg whites. Avoid icing recipes using uncooked eggs or egg whites, unless you use powdered egg whites.
  • Meringue-topped pies should be safe if baked at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes. Chiffon pies and fruit whips made with raw, beaten egg whites cannot be guaranteed to be safe. Instead substitute pasteurized dried egg whites, whipped cream, or a whipped topping.
  • To make a recipe safe that specifies using eggs that are not cooked, heat the eggs in a liquid from the recipe over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Then combine it with the other ingredients and complete the recipe.
  • To determine doneness in egg dishes such as quiche and casseroles, the center of the mixture should reach 160 degrees when measured with a food thermometer.
  • Egg mixtures are safe if they reach 160 degrees F, so homemade ice cream and eggnog can be made safely from a cooked egg-milk mixture. Heat the egg mixture gently and use a food thermometer.

If you have any questions regarding Family Living in Shawano County, please contact:


Kara Skarlupka
Shawano County Healthy Families & Communities Coordinator
311  N Main Street, Room 101
Shawano, WI 54166
Phone: 715-526-4863 Main Line 6136
Fax: 715-526-4875



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