As authorities across the United States take part in a five-day exercise this week to test how well emergency teams respond to terrorist attacks, what can the public do to prepare? According to the American Dietetic Association, a nutritious food supply and safe food handling must be a top priority.
From American Dietetic Association :In Advance of Homeland Security Drill, American Dietetic Association Offers Advice on Food Supply and Safety During a Disaster
CHICAGO — As authorities across the United States take part in a five-day exercise this week to test how well emergency teams respond to terrorist attacks, what can the public do to prepare? According to the American Dietetic Association, a nutritious food supply and safe food handling must be a top priority.
“Having food supplies on hand can do much to prepare families for disaster,” said Chicago-based registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Dawn Jackson. “With mock radiological and biological attacks being staged in Seattle and Chicago, now is a good time for individuals and families to prepare.”
Jackson suggest keeping available at least a three-day supply of food, water and prescription medicine. “Plan on one gallon of water per person per day. If you store commercially bottled water, leave it sealed until use,” she said.
Seattle-based registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Lola O’Rourke suggests shelf-stable foods in unbreakable containers that do not require rehydration. “Select package sizes that are appropriate to your household needs. Many opened foods require refrigeration, which may not be available during disasters,” O’Rourke said.
Since cooking appliances may not be available either, store foods that don’t need reheating. “Plan on simple picnic-style meals that are easy to prepare, serve and clean. If you have a limited amount of water, juice and other beverages, you may want to avoid salty foods that increase thirst. Choose foods you use routinely and rotate them in your normal food use,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke and Jackson offer recommendations for foods to store:
Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables (remember to include a manual can opener)
High energy foods, such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars or trail mix
Canned juices, milk and soup
Comfort foods, such as candy, cookies and sweetened cereal
How long can food supplies be stored? “Check the expiration or ‘use by’ date on the package,” Jackson said. “If you cannot find one, store the product for no longer than six months. Use bottled water within one year.
“Because a bioterrorism attack would be silent and the effects would not be visible for days, it is important to follow food safety recommendations every day,” Jackson said.
With nearly 70,000 members, the American Dietetic Association is the nation’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Chicago-based ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being. Visit ADA at www.eatright.org.