Hunter New England Health is reminding those affected by the severe weather to throw out all food that has been unrefrigerated and to take care around flood water, which is most likely contaminated.
Public Health Physician Tony Merritt said when power to the fridge has been off for more than four hours perishable food will spoil and won’t be safe to eat.
“Any food that was in the freezer and has now thawed needs to be consumed within 24 hours or thrown out. Never refreeze frozen foods that have thawed.” He said.
“Food that has come into contact with floodwaters, including frozen food, should be discarded.
Some canned food may be kept but if the can is dented or damaged it should be thrown away. If in doubt, throw it out,” Dr Merritt said.
Consuming unsafe food may cause serious illness. Throw away any perishable foods such as dairy products, meat, poultry and prepared food that has been unrefrigerated for more than four hours.
It is best to assume all floodwater is contaminated so residents are advised to avoid contact if possible.
“If you do come into contact with flood water, it’s important you wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards,” Dr Merritt said.
Detailed guidance on household clean up and food safety following the storm event are available at the NSW Emergency Services website.