The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Homeland Security

Survival Food

The nonpharmaceutical pandemic mitigation interventions include voluntary home quarantine of members of households with confirmed or probable influenza case(s), dismissal of students from school and school-based activities and closure of childcare programs, and use of social distancing measures to reduce contact between adults in the community and workplace, including alteration of workplace environments and schedules to decrease social density.

Preliminary analysis of historical data from selected US cities during the 1918 pandemic suggests that duration of implementation of Nonpharmaceutical Interventions [NPIs] is significantly associated with overall mortality rates. Total duration of implementation for measures will depend on the severity of the pandemic and the total duration of the pandemic wave in the community, which may average about 6-8 weeks in individual communities. However, a mitigated pandemic wave may have lower amplitude but longer wavelength than an unmitigated pandemic wave. Communities should therefore be prepared to maintain these measures for up to 12 weeks in a Category 4 or 5 pandemic.

Previously, Federal guidance called for three days of food and water for emergency situations. In response to pandemic flu, two weeks of food is probably the minimum for anyone in any potential survival situation. A stockpile of one to three months is probably a more realistic inventory for prolonged social distancing in response to pandemic flu. A year? Let's hope you never need it. A year may be excessive for almost any purposes. This food reserve should not include food in your refrigerator or freezer because you cannot count on those items remaining edible for more than a day (fridge) or three (freezer), at most.

You can survive over a week without food but only 3 days without water. Roughly 70% of the adult human body is made up of water. FEMA suggests storing at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking. A two week supply of water would be sufficient to deal with a worst case scenario in which there was a temporary interruption of the municipal water supply. Otherwise, tap water is safe to drink and poses no risk of transmission of flu virus.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), food can be safe forever from a foodborne-illness standpoint - but if shelf-stable food has been on the shelf for an extended period of time, you might not want to eat it because the quality may not be good. In this case, the "best if used by" date on the label of the product is an indication whether or not the quality of the food is good. Food quality deals with the taste, texture, and nutritional value of food.

"Shelf-life" is the length of time food will retain most of its nutrition and flavor. Food that may still be safe to eat may have lost much of its nutrition, if stored past its shelf life. Things that cause food to go bad are moisture, oxygen, insects, and animals getting into the food.

Cans of food from the super market make good storage foods, but you should use the oldest ones first and replace them. This is called "rotating" your food. The easiest way to do this is to put the date that you bought the food on the top of the can with a magic marker. This makes it easy to use the oldest first. Canned foods will keep for at least one year, if kept in a cool, dry place and not allowed to freeze.

Some foods, such as canned foods, have a product code stamped on the bottom or top of each container providing information such as "best quality date" or "use by date," the name of the plant where the food was manufactured, and the lot number. The code number may not be consistent from one manufacturer to another. For instance, food manufacturers may indicate the "use by date" as month and year (APR00) stamped on top of the can. APR00 means the food should be consumed by April of 2000. The first letter and number (corresponding to month and year) of the stamped code also may indicate "use by dates."

When in doubt throw it out! Never taste food to determine its safety! Check canned goods to see whether any are sticky on the outside. This may indicate a leak. You will have to evaluate each item separately. Food may be spoiled without a detectable off-odor. Food that is temperature abused will spoil rapidly as evidenced by off-odors, off-flavors, off-color, and/or soft texture.

  • Dried fruits have a long shelf-life because moisture has been removed from the product. Unopened dried fruits may be stored for 6 months at room temperature.
  • Canned vegetables can be stored in a cool, dry area below 85F (optimum 50F to 70F) for up to one year. After one year, canned vegetables may still be consumed. However, overall quality and nutritional value may have diminished. Discard badly dented, swollen, and/or rusty cans.
  • Dry milk may be stored at cool temperatures (50F to 60F) in airtight containers for one year. Opened containers of dry milk, especially whole milk products, should be stored at cold temperatures to reduce off-flavors. Reconstituted milk should be handled like fluid milk and stored at refrigeration temperatures if not immediately used.
  • Canned evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk may be stored at room temperature for 12 to 23 months. Opened canned milk should be refrigerated and consumed within 8 to 20 days.
  • Rice Dream is rice milk in boxes, similar to juice box mpackaging. They come in 8 ounce, 32 ounce and 64 ounce sizes. It tastes great with cereal, and for use in cream based soups. You can even fix yourself of chocolate milk using Rice Dream. Rice Dream has a long shelf life, generally the date stamped is one year ahead from the day you purchase it. However once you open it, it needs to be refrigerated and it tastes freshest if used within 4 or 5 days. The manufacturer says it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 7 - 10 days, however the 5 day mark is the longest period time it retains its full freshness.
  • Commercial bottled water has an extended shelf-life of one to two years due to extensive water treatment (filtration, demineralization, and ozonation) and strict environmental controls during manufacturing and packaging. Bottled water should be stored in a cool, dry place in the absence of sunlight. Household tap water has a limited shelf-life of only a few days due to the growth of microorganisms during storage.
A half a cup of dried rice, a little less than half a pound, is equal to roughly 1 cups of cooked rice. That is a lot of rice per person, so no one should be very hungry. Figure a family of four eating twice a day is four cups a day, about 1 pounds, times sixty days is 240 cups of rice, about 100 pounds. With 16 cups per gallon, three 5 gallon containers should suffice for two months. Rice and beans twice a day for a month will cool ardor and may lead to acts of violence, but you will be pleased to see that they have plenty of energy to argue, since rice and beans will provide almost all the nutrients a body needs. The question is, "How much beans are needed for two months?" If you plan on canned beans figure 120 cans of eight to twelve ounce. If you get dried beans, figure a cup dried volume per meal, or a little over 10 gallons of dried beans. The drawback to dried beans is that they have to be soaked for 24 hours, so you will have to start soaking beans 24 hours in advance of each meal which is a pain.

The main difference between commercially prepared foods sold in grocery stores and specially prepared "survival" foods is the shelf storage. You can't store grocery store items for five to ten years, as you can with specially freeze-dried or sealed foods packed in nitrogen or vacuum sealed. As a result, if you go with a larder full of grocery items, you can't develop your food stash and walk away. You need to rotate your stock, either on an ongoing basis or every two to three months. This will ensure you have fresh food (if you can consider canned and dry food "fresh") and do not waste your food and money.

Certain Items such as MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) are excellent for emergency situations, because they come out of the package ready to eat, with no cooking needed. MREs do not provide as much roughage as you need, which can lead to digestive problems after a week or two of eating nothing else. MRE entrees are excellent supplements, because prepared sets of #10 cans are primarily vegetables, pasta and grains, while MRE entrees are usually meat-based. You may also want to add a few special items, such as hard candy or deserts, to reward yourself or for quick energy. And don't forget to add vitamins and mineral supplements.

With Mountain House products on hand and a one-burner stove or candle to heat water (cold water can be used in a pinch), you can still enjoy a hot, satisfying meal in less than 10 minutes. These #10 Cans have the longest shelf life available up to 25 years! Each can is coated with a protective enamel inside and out for double protection, including the lid. The cans contents are protected until you are ready to open and use them. After opening, use the contents with a week for best results and taste; using the convenient resealable plastic lid between uses. Treat any leftover food as you would fresh food. Mountain House freeze-dried foods are packed in airtight NITROGEN PACKED #10 cans or pouches. Up to 98% of the residual oxygen has been removed. The unique Mountain House canning process uses both vacuum oxygen removal and nitrogen flushing.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list



 
Page last modified: 13-07-2011 12:49:39 ZULU