June 24, 2017 — In the wake of Tropical Storm Bret which passed over Trinidad and Tobago late Monday night into Tuesday morning, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries is today supporting the water and food-safety guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.
In many communities, flooding and property damage create the possibility that the safety of both stored and unharvested or unprocessed food could be compromised.
Citizens are therefore urged to exercise caution when consuming or purchasing food, particularly vegetables, fruit, meat and poultry products in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Bret or, indeed, after any severe weather event. At the same time, in many cases, vegetables can be cleaned by washing thoroughly and using a simple sanitising solution.
For food that may have come into contact with flood waters, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries recommends that consumers take the following steps to prevent or limit outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.
Fruit and Vegetable Safety Guidelines
• Do not eat any foods, including fruits and vegetables that show signs of contact with flood water.
• Wash all fruits and vegetables with clean (potable) water. Fresh fruit can be sanitised in water with a sanitising solution of one (1) tablespoon of chlorine bleach per gallon of water. After sanitising, let fruits or vegetables sit for at least ten (10) minutes before consuming.
• Examine fresh fruits and vegetables closely before purchasing or consuming. Wash green, leafy vegetables including dasheen bush, spinach, kale, lettuce, etc. thoroughly. Sanitise uncooked vegetables before consuming.
• Before purchasing cabbage, insist vendors cut through the cabbage and do not buy cabbage that shows signs of flood damage including brown water stains and softness at the base. Sweet peppers affected by flood water would have soft spots and would not be as firm as they should be.
• When in doubt, throw it out. Discard foods that you suspect have been affected by flood water.