Rotating Your Food Storage
Getting ready for a
disaster is challenging, but preparation can certainly help. Having an
adequate water and food supply is one of the most important steps a
person or family can take towards being ready for natural disasters. One
crucial part of maintaining an adequate food supply is to rotate the
food stored on a regular basis. Otherwise, you may find that some of
your food is inedible or spoiled when the time comes. All of these steps
can be applied to non-emergency food supplies as well.
The first step is make sure that you know when your food expires. This
will make sure that you use food that is closer to expiration, leaving
fresher meals in your supply. For example, the Mountain House 72 Hour
Emergency Meal Kit has a shelf life of 5-7 years, so mark the the month
and date it will expire clearly in permanent marker on the package. Even
if a food has an extremely long shelf of 20-30 years, like the
Harvester package, the expiration date should be marked, since there is
no shelf life on emergencies or disasters. Also, most shelf life lengths
are for an unopened package, and once the package has been opened there
is generally about one year before the food expires. Use a different
color of permanent marker to identify the new expiration date once a
package is opened.
Once your food supply is marked, it should be ordered by expiration
date. If you have several Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk 6-gallon buckets that
were purchased at different times, for example, place the oldest bucket
at the front of the line to be used first, with the newest in the back.
Every six months or a year it is a good idea to check all expiration
dates and ensure that the food is still good. This can also help let you
know if you are running low on any supplies and need to reorder to keep
your emergency supply ready for a disaster.
Make sure that your emergency food is an safe and accessible area as
well, and one that will enable food rotation on a regular basis. People
who live in a tornado or hurricane prone area will not want to store
food in the attic, and people that live near flood areas will not want
to store food in the basement. You want to make sure the food can be
reached in an emergency, and that it will not be too inconvenient to
rotate the food.
Make sure to look on the food package for any specific storing
instructions, but generally all emergency food supplies can be stored
together. They should be placed in a dry, dark area with no extreme
temperatures. Cold or heat or sun exposure may damage the storage
container and cause it to split or crack, leading to unexpectedly
spoiled food. Sometimes accidents do happen though, so it is important
to make sure you use high quality storage containers to keep your food,
and family, safe.