Hero Image

Emergencies & Food Safety


Have a question about a possible poisoning?
The American Association of Poison Control Center offers fast, free, expert services, 24/7 through the Poison Help Hotline: 1-800-222-1222 and
online self-triage tool: PoisonHelp.org.
Save this information somewhere that you can retrieve quickly, if needed.

In response to COVID-19, the Poison Help Hotline medical experts are available to answer questions, ease concerns and provide resources that relate to preventing poison exposures to commonly used products, including hand sanitizers, cleaning products, and medicines.

Note: Fresh fruits and vegetables should be washed by rinsing with running water.

Excerpts from Center for Disease Control and Prevention webpages on Botulism (Spanish)
Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves.
Symptoms of botulism usually start with weakness of the muscles that control the eyes, face, mouth, and throat. This weakness may spread to the neck, arms, torso, and legs. Botulism also can weaken the muscles involved in breathing, which can lead to difficulty breathing and even death.
If you or someone you know has symptoms of botulism, see your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.

Many cases of botulism are preventable.
Foodborne botulism is caused by eating foods that are contaminated with the disease-causing toxin. You cannot see, smell, or taste botulinum toxin – but taking even a small taste of food containing this toxin can be deadly. Contamination can happen when food is handled improperly when it is made, when it is stored, or when it is used by consumers. The best way to prevent foodborne botulism is by carefully following instructions as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning. More (and current) information on home canning: National Center for Home Food Preservation and state and county extension services. [Orange County, California Master Food Preserver Helpline]
If you know foods were underprocessed according to the current standards and recommended methods, do not eat them and throw them out safely.

From interview with UC Cooperative Extension Specialist in Microbial Food Safety, Linda Harris
Botulism Q&A

Power Outages & Disasters

Are you and your food prepared?

Find out more about California Public Safety Power Shutoffs (UCANR Safety Note #199).

Food Safety Before, During and After a Power Outage (USDA).

Learn how to Keep Your Food Safe During Emergencies: Power Outages, Floods and Fires (USDA FSIS Food Safety Education).

Earthquakes & Food Safety Information (UC Davis, UC Food Safety).

Fire Emergency Information & Resources because wildfires blaze in California.

COVID-19 Pandemic Information & Resources with tips to stay safe and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
CDC "Food and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)" updated Dec. 31, 2020 says Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or consuming food is associated with COVID-19.