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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.
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