Port of Spain, May 26, 2010:  The Ministry of Health would like to remind members of the public of the following food and water safety tips during and after floods.

If flood waters reach your stored food it may have become contaminated:

  • Do not cook or eat perishable items such as vegetables and fruits that have been soaked by flood water
  • Do not cook or eat items from bags or cartons that have been soaked by flood water, items from damaged cans, and any poultry or animals that were drowned in the floods.
  • Never taste foods to determine whether it’s safe or not.
  • Wear rubber gloves and other protective clothing for personal protection during clean-up to avoid direct skin contact with contaminated material.
  • Use household bleach, ½ - 1 tablespoon per gallon of water, to sanitize floors, countertops, walls and utensils
  • Do not play or bathe in flood waters, you may contract a water-borne disease.
  • Boil or disinfect all drinking water or use fresh bottled water

Disinfection of Water

Water can be made safe for drinking and domestic use by either of the following methods:

  • Boiling – the water must be heated until it boils and achieves what is referred to as a “rolling boil” for one (1) minute.
  • Household bleach – it is advisable to purchase products that have the mark of the Standards Bureau on their label. Several products give directions on the use of chlorine to disinfect water supplies. However, the following concentrations are recommended – ⅛ teaspoon (0.75 ml) or eight drops to 1 gallon water. Let the water stand for 30 minutes before use