Are foods safe to eat after a fire?

In East Alabama, do you know what foods are safe to eat after a fire?

Do you realize that fire damage is much more than just flames? Smoke damage and remnants of the extreme heat and firefighting chemicals remain long after a fire is put out. If you are unfortunate to have a fire break out in your home or commercial kitchen, is the food you had stored there safe to eat, or should you throw everything out? Following these tips to clean up the damage and determine food safety after a fire.

First, deciding if any of the food is safe to eat

Canned and jarred food:

It may appear that Intact cans and jars after a fire are safe, but, prolonged exposure to heat could cause the food inside to spoil. Extreme heat from a fire can cause also cause cans and jars to crack, spilling out the contents and contaminating the food. Fire-fighting chemicals and smoke can also seep under bottle caps and screw top lids. What to do? Throw it all away, even though it appears to be safe.

Permeable packaging and stored foods:

Plastic wrap, cardboard, and foil are all permeable, meaning smoke has tainted the food stored inside. Any unwrapped foods such as fruits and vegetables are also damaged from fire exposure, so throw them away as well.

Refrigerator and or freezer foods:

Refrigerator and freezer seals are not airtight, even though you may have thought of keeping refrigerated or frozen food. Smoke, soot and chemical fumes could have gotten inside and tainted the food there as well. Throw away anything that has signs of smoke damage or gives off funny odors. Discard all ice as well.

Power failures:

Once you return to the building following a fire evacuation, fire or not, did the power go out during the evacuation? Foods such as liquid or refrozen meat juices, or melted ice cream should be checked for signs of being damaged in the refrigerator and freezer. Unusual odors or colors, and textures are also telltale signs that food has been damaged. Any of these signs, on any of the food products are an indication to discard all food you were keeping refrigerated or frozen.

Firefighting chemicals and food contamination:

If the blaze was put out with a fire extinguisher or other fire suppression method, don’t think twice about discarding the food since all firefighting chemicals are poisonous and can’t be washed off. Even permeate packaged products can be contaminated by these chemicals.


Disposable cups, utensils, cutlery, plastic plates, and other similar items exposed to smoke and firefighting chemicals are not safe to eat or drink out of, so throw them away.

And remember your pets too!

Food that is deemed unsafe for human consumption, will also not be safe for your pets either. You should never taste food to determine whether it’s safe. When in doubt, throw it out! Even though if feels shameful to waste so much food and drink, the alternative is to eat contaminated products that could make you sick and it’s just not worth it!

Safely cleaning up the fire and smoke damage in East Alabama!

You must clean and sanitize all surfaces before you start using your home or commercial kitchen again. Remnants of chemicals and fine particles leftover from the fire can remain, even though it seems like the countertops are clean. Smoke and fire damage can also destroy the walls and building structure.

The safest way to clean up fire damage is to seek professional fire remediation services. Whether it’s your home kitchen or commercial kitchen, Restoration 1 East Alabama can get your property cleaned and restored.