Food safety planning for an emergency

Being prepared for a disaster is crucial if you live in New Zealand. We are at the mercy of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and, possibly, tsunamis. Sometimes extreme weather can cause floods and storms.


It is important to be aware of how to get information on food and water safety during an emergency. This will come from your local authority and public health unit and it is likely that different areas of the country will face different issues. But when it comes to food, the same preparation applies wherever you live.

Prepare a survival kit

There are many things you can do to minimise the impact on your health before disaster strikes. Put together an emergency food survival kit. Do it now and make sure you include the following items to last at least three days:

  • canned and/or dried food – luncheon meat, ham, fish, fruits, vegetables, cereals, tea, coffee, powdered soup, salt, sugar, sweets, biscuits
  • a can opener
  • a primus/portable gas cooker or barbeque to cook on
  • eating equipment – utensils, knives, pots, cups, plates, bowls, matches, lighters
  • bottled water – 3 litres per person per day, or 6 to 8 large plastic soft-drink bottles of water per person per day
  • bottled water – 1 litre for washing food and cooking each meal, washing dishes and washing yourself
  • milk powder or UHT milk.

Check and renew food and water every year, taking into account medical or dietary conditions in your family. If you have babies or children, make sure they have enough suitable food.

If you live in a flood-prone area, keep your food survival kit above the likely reach of flood water.

You should always be prepared for a disaster

Food safety is just one step in staying safe during and after an emergency. Civil Defence has more information on preparing for an emergency

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