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Ripley County Extension Gives Advice on Food Safety After a Flood

Food contamination is often a problem after a flood because floodwaters can carry silt, raw sewage, oil or chemical wastes, says a University of Missouri Extension specialist.

Filth and disease-causing bacteria can contaminate any food the water contacts and make that food unsafe to eat, said Phyllis Flanigan, MU Extension human development specialist and county program director for Butler and Ripley counties.

“You will need to discard all food and any garden produce,” she said. “You will also want to disinfect your kitchen utensils and cookware, and clean and disinfect all surfaces in the kitchen just like other parts of the home.”

MU Extension has a step-by-step guide to cleaning flood-damaged homes. The free publication covers electrical systems; repairing walls; cleaning furniture, flooring and floor coverings, bedding, and kitchen items; and controlling mold and mildew. The guide also contains financial advice, including filing insurance claims, avoiding fraud and hiring a contractor.

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