Environmental Emergency & Recovery

Environmental Emergencies – natural or man-made, can happen at any time. Being prepared helps retail facilities in emergency response and recovery. Natural emergencies can be related to hurricanes, flooding in the aftermath of hurricanes or heavy rains, tornadoes, or wildfires. Man-made disasters can be related to chemical or oil spills, nuclear disasters, or arson.

Guidance for Retail Food Establishments (RFE) coping with natural environmental emergencies and their impact on food safety are discussed below.

Food Safety - Recovering from a flood

If your RFE has been impacted by a flood event, please adhere to the following guidelines when it is safe for you to do so and prior to serving food.

Boil Water Emergencies

Sometimes a situation occurs where the quality (due to biological or chemical contamination) or the availability of water is a concern for the safe operation of a food service facility. When the water supply may have been biologically contaminated, a Boil Water Advisory will be issued. If it is confirmed that the water supply has been biologically contaminated, a Drinking Water Warning (sometimes called a Boil Water Notice or a Tier 1 Notice) will be issued.

Food Safety - Recovering from Power Outages

Power outages can be costly in the restaurant business. Planning in advance and quick action can limit some of the business impacts associated with power outages and emergencies. Quickly controlling temperature is key. In the event of a power outage, an evaluation will need to be made to determine if foods have remained in the safe zone and whether or not cooking operations can safely continue. The safe zone is less than or equal to 41°F and greater than or equal to 135°F.

A comprehensive guide to creating an Emergency Action Plan for Retail Food Establishments can be found here: http://www.foodprotect.org/media/guide/EmergencyActionPlan


Food Safety