Food safety after Sandy: What you need to know

Eileen Miley looks for magnets that might be salvageable at her home that was destroyed by flooding during Superstorm Sandy in Staten Island, New York on November 1, 2012.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

(CBS News) Food safety in the wake of superstorm Sandy is a concern for many. But what's safe to use and what should you throw out?

First, throw away all foods and plastic containers that touched flood water. Even if they're wrapped in plastic or paper, they're not safe and you cannot disinfect them.

Undamaged cans of food are able to be used. But be sure to remove the labels, wash and disinfect them with bleach. Canned chicken, fish, and beans are good sources of protein if you still don't have power.

If you have yet to sort through your fridge, just a reminder: you will need to throw out all dairy, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. They can only last in a refrigerator for four hours without power, and in a freezer for 24 to 48 hours. You can't rely on how frozen food smells or looks. The key is whether it still has ice crystals on it. If so, you can refreeze or cook it.

If you're not sure, it's better to play it safe and throw it away.

Check out Dr. Holly Phillips tips from "CBS This Morning" in the video below.