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> Health - EH - Food Management after a fire

Safe Food Management in a Permitted Facility After a Fire

If you have a fire in your Food Service Establishment:
Call the Tompkins County Health Department Immediately at 274-6688.

  • A representative from the Health Department may need to visit your facility following the fire.
  • The Health Department may close your facility until services can be restored.
  • The local Fire Department may close your facility for structural reasons and/or until the Ansul Unit is recharged.

Following a fire in a Food Service Establishment a thorough assessment of all foods must be made prior to reopening for customer service.

As a general rule food should be managed as follows:

  1. Alcoholic Beverages, contact the state agency with liquor control authority for disposal or sanitizing instructions.
  2. Bottled Soft Drinks may be salvaged if bottles are protected by a plastic outer wrap or are in bottles with screw tops. The exterior may be washed, rinsed and sanitized. Soft drinks in glass bottles should be discarded (impossible to clean around and under top).
  3. Canned Soft Drinks may be salvaged if not exposed to excessive heat or fire. The cans should be cleaned and disinfected. (If exposed to excessive heat contents must be destroyed).
  4. Dairy Products, Eggs, Butter, Margarine, Cheese and Milk must be destroyed and no attempt at salvage made.
  5. Sugars, Candy, Flour, Cereal Products, Bakery Products, Dried Beans, Rice and Other Grains-All of these products must be destroyed and no attempt at salvage made.
  6. Frozen canned fish and meat products (hams, picnics, canned fish) can be salvaged if the fire and heat were not extensive. Wash-rinse and sanitize the exterior of cans prior to using them.
  7. Products in Glass With Metal Screw-Type or Metal Slip Covers cannot be salvaged. These include: pickles, olives, catsup, steak sauces, salad dressings and syrups. This type of container is impossible to clean and disinfect and must be destroyed.
  8. Frozen Food other than fish or meat, no salvage can be attempted unless frozen foods were stored in a completely enclosed walk-in or cabinet and electrical service has not been interrupted.
  9. Produce (Fresh or Dried), no attempt at salvage is permitted. These products must be destroyed.
  10. Jams, Jellies, Peanut Butter and Baby Food in Glass typically must be destroyed because it is nearly impossible to clean and disinfect the jars, especially under the lip of the cover. The food in the glass container will usually become contaminated when the lid is removed.
  11. Canned Goods, when heat and water damage is minimal, can be salvaged quickly by cleaning the exterior surfaces and removing them to suitable storage areas. Clean and sanitize the exterior of the canned goods. Remove the labels to clean and sanitize, then re-label the containers.
  12. If non-food packaged products are wholly or partially destroyed they must be discarded and rendered unusable.

The above information applies to certain circumstances and observations made by the Health Department at your facility following a fire. Not all of the above information applies in all cases.

Contact the Tompkins County Health Department at 274-6688 to schedule a facility visit for inspection following a fire.

During the site inspection, the inspector will help you list the food items that must be discarded due to contamination, inability to clean and sanitize and/or due to destruction/damage by heat or fire.