With the cleanup continuing after massive flooding in South Louisiana, health inspectors will face a full load of inspections.

There are nearly 17,000 restaurants in our state that must be checked out on a regular basis. The objective of the Retail Food Program is to prevent and minimize food-borne disease outbreaks. Click here to find out how your favorite restaurant is doing.

Food Safety Tips After a Flood

One of the big problems is mold. Here are some tips from the health department.

  • If you are able to safely start cleanup of your home or business, remember the basic rule is, if you can see or smell mold, take steps to eliminate the excess moisture; then, clean up and remove the mold by using a non-ammonia soap or detergent and hot water or a commercial cleaner.
  • Thoroughly scrub all contaminated surfaces (using a stiff brush to clean masonry walls) with the soap or detergent. To get best results, use a lot of cleaning solution.
  • After cleaning, disinfect the surface with a mixture that includes one-fourth cup bleach per gallon of water. If the mold has already started to grow back, try a stronger solution: one-half gallon bleach in five gallons of water. Allow the bleach solution to dry naturally for a six- to eight-hour time period as extended surface contact is important.
  • Never mix bleach with ammonia, the fumes are toxic. Wear eye protection, rubber gloves and a mask. Ventilate the working area by opening doors and windows and using fans.
  • Always use a face mask when working in areas that have mold. Almost anyone who breathes enough mold spores will have an adverse reaction. These reactions can include tightening in the chest, flu-like symptoms or even more severe reactions.

If floodwater entered your home, you must clean and disinfect your home and any items that came into contact with floodwaters. Take precautions when doing so, especially if your home experienced a backup of sewage. Wear personal protective equipment. Porous items that absorbed flood waters, including drywall, carpets, upholstered furniture and curtains may need to be disposed of entirely or professionally cleaned.

Throw out any food that came into contact with flood waters, including canned goods.

For more information from the Department of Health on flood water safety or other emergency efforts, visit www.ldh.la.gov/emergency.