NC State Extension Publications

What Can I Keep?

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Keep Discard
Foods that have NOT come in contact with flood water Raw and ready to eat food that may have come into contact with flood water is risky – this would include raw fruits and vegetables
Food that are in waterproof containers, or did not come in contact with flood waters Discard any food that is NOT in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are NOT waterproof includes those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/,ilk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
Canned foods that are undamaged and not swollen Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.

What to Discard

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Discard refrigerated perishables at risk for pathogen growth:

  • Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood; soy meat substitutes
  • Salads: Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, or egg salad
  • Gravy, stuffing, broth
  • Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef
  • Canned hams labeled “Keep Refrigerated”
  • Canned meats and fish, opened
  • Casseroles, soups, stews
  • Soft Cheeses: blue/bleu, Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, cottage, cream, Edam, Monterey Jack, ricotta, mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, queso blanco, queso fresco •Shredded Cheeses
  • Low-fat Cheeses
  • Milk, cream, evaporated milk
  • Hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products
  • Custards and puddings, quiche
  • Fresh cut melons, tomatoes
  • Sprouts
  • Cooked pasta, rice, potatoes
  • Pasta salads
  • Cheesecake
  • Pastries, cream filled
  • Pies – custard, cheese filled, or chiffon; quiche
  • Vegetables: Greens, pre-cut, prewashed, packaged
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Vegetable juice, opened
  • Baked potatoes
  • Casseroles, soups, stews

Sanitizing Solution: 1 tablespoon bleach + 1 gallon water

Clean all undamaged metal cans (after removing labels) with a sanitizing solution and check for bulging. Clean pots, pans, dishes, and utensils with sanitizing solution.

For More Information

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For more information on disaster preparedness and recovery visit the NC Disaster Information Center.

Materials adapted the USDA FSIS.


Extension Food Safety Specialist and Assistant Professor
Agricultural and Human Sciences

Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites:

Publication date: Oct. 21, 2016

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