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August 31, 2011

For More Information Contact

  • Michelle Peregoy (804) 864-7963


(RICHMOND, Va.)—Many restaurants are reopening after Hurricane Irene, but they need to take appropriate precautions to ensure food and water safety. The risk of food poisoning is heightened when refrigerators and ovens are inoperable. Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.

All restaurants and food vendors must comply with the following safety practices until they can ensure that water quality is restored or has not been contaminated:

  • Food preparation workers must wear regulation plastic foodservice gloves. Food preparation workers must avoid direct contact with ready-to-eat foods; this can be accomplished by the use of gloves, utensils and deli paper.
  • Tap water must not be used for cleaning or food preparation unless disinfected by a rolling boil for one-minute. Water used for cleaning food preparation equipment should contain sanitizer bleach for equipment wipe down.
  • If means are not available to properly sanitize eating utensils, plates and cups, then disposable, single-use items must be used (including paper products, disposable eating utensils, paper or plastic plates, cups, etc.).
  • No fountain drinks may be served.
  • Ice from ice making machines must not be served to the public.
  • Only bottled water, drinks, canned sodas, etc. may be served to the public.
  • Restaurants and food vendors must have an effective means of maintaining proper temperatures for potentially hazardous foods; such foods must be held at temperatures 41 degrees or below Fahrenheit, or 135 degrees or above Fahrenheit.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled and cooled or disinfected.
  • If you have any questions about the safety of your food and water, please contact your local health department before you begin service.

For additional food and water safety information, restaurants are encouraged to call their local health department or visit

Last Updated: 08-31-2011

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