Tens of thousands of people have been affected by the Mosquito Fire, with some families having been evacuated for nearly two weeks. With the extended loss of power, refrigerators and freezers are not able to keep food chilled to safe temperatures. This greatly increases the risk of foodborne illnesses, especially for vulnerable populations such as infants, toddlers, and the elderly. Perishable foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy should always be kept at or below 40°F and frozen foods at or below 0℉. As you return home, the following tips will help keep you safe from foodborne illnesses:

  • Never taste food to determine its safety! The appearance and odor of food will not determine if it’s safe to eat. Throw away any perishable foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy that have been kept at 41℉ or warmer for 2 hours or more! 
  • Most perishable food will be spoiled! Canned and dry-goods may be still be safe, but all perishable food should be thrown out.
  • Dispose of spoiled food at a designated site! Placer County has organized a temporary Spoiled Food Collection Site at: 20895 Todd Valley Road, Foresthill, CA 9563. For more information: https://www.placer.ca.gov/8266/Returning-Home
  • Be mindful of drinking water safety! Foresthill Public Utilities has maintained operation of the public water system, but drinking water may appear cloudy or dirty-looking. If water is discolored, it’s recommended to run the taps until color returns to normal.

Disposing of perishable foods after an extended evacuation will prevent you and your family from being exposed to foodborne illnesses. Though it feels wasteful to throw out food, it’s important to follow safe food handling practices. For more information and tips on food safety during an emergency visit USDA, Food Safety Education at:

https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep-food-safe/food-safety-in-disaster-or-emergency CalFresh Healthy Living, UCCE Placer/Nevada Counties provides comprehensive, hands-on nutrition education to help CalFresh-eligible children and families in Placer and Nevada Counties maintain healthy lifestyles through healthy and safe food choices. For more information visit our website at https://ucanr.edu/sites/letseathealthy/ . “Like” us on Facebook for additional tips and updates at CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California, Placer/Nevada Counties.