My House Was Flooded, Are These Canned Goods Safe?

A Flooded Neighborhood
This Flooded Neighborhood is Typical of Those Devasted By Torrential Rains

Your house was just flooded. The flood could have been over a widespread area of a town or from a pipe bursting in your basement. Now you have to start the cleanup. Your basement pantry was filled with all your long term food storage items. You wonder if your Mountain House food in No. 10 cans, your dehydrated food in No. 10 cans, and your canned goods are safe.

Undamaged (meaning unpunctured) canned goods can be saved even if they have been completely submerged. It makes no difference if they are #10 cans or regular size grocery store canned goods. Here’s what you do:

  • Take a permanent felt tip pen, like a Sharpie, and write the contents on the can.
  • Remove the label.
  • Wash the cans in a strong detergent solution using a scrub brush. Make sure to carefully clean areas around the lids and seams.
  • Next, soak the cans in a solution of unscented liquid household bleach, such as Clorox. Use t easpoonfuls of bleach per quart of room temperature water. Let the cans soak for 15 minutes.
  • Take the cans out of the solution and let them air dry. The cans need to be dry before you open them.

Cans that have leaks, dents, or bulging should be discarded because they may be contaminated.

If you had rushing flood waters, then the labels may have been washed off of the cans. In this situation, the only solution is to write the contents on the can when the can is put into storage, before the flood. Yes, it’s a bother, but if you live in a flood plain and are prone to flooding, then this will allow you to know the contents of a can. Otherwise, you may be fixing dinner for your family, you open five cans, and they are all vegetables. That’s only good if your family is vegetarian.

Follow these instructions and you will know what to do with your Mountain House Freeze Dried Food in #10 cans, your dehydrated food in #10 cans, and your store-bought canned goods.



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