Food and drinking water
Food and water shortages: how to prepare
Shortages of drinking water or food can occur for a variety of reasons, including prolonged power outages or transport disruptions. Think about how you would cope for a week without water or food. By being prepared, you can cope better during a crisis.
Always have bottled water at home
Water is essential for both drinking and cooking. Make sure you always have bottled water at home. Allow at least three to five litres per person per day. If there is a shortage of fresh drinking water, the municipality may provide water tanks. Contact your municipality to find out where.
If you have your own drinking water supply, you are responsible for ensuring that the water is sufficient and of the required quality. The Food Agency has information for those with their own well. You can also contact your local authority's environmental health office if you want to know more about private drinking water supplies.
Extra supply of easily prepared food
Buy a bit extra of what you usually eat, to ensure an extra supply at home that doesn't expire. Choose foods that:
- Can be prepared quickly.
- Don't need much water.
- Can be eaten without cooking.
- Can be stored at room temperature.
- Contain a lot of calories.
Food poisoning is caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses or toxins. Symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pains and fever. You can get sick from food you eat in a restaurant or food you prepare yourself. In the latter case, there is much that you can do to reduce your risk of getting sick.
How to avoid getting sick from the food you prepare at home
- Place perishable food items in the refrigerator as soon as possible
- Ensure the temperature in the fridge is approximately +4 degrees Celsius.
- Don't cook for others if you’ve recently had viral gastroenteritis, a.k.a. the stomach flu.
- Always wash your hands before cooking.
- Use only clean kitchen tools.
- Wash utensils extra carefully after cutting meat or chicken.
- Wipe up meat juices with paper towels. Do not use a dishrag.
- Put cooked food in the fridge as soon as possible.
- Avoid food and drinking water that is discoloured or smells or tastes wrong.
Always report food poisoning
If you suspect that you have been poisoned, you should always report this to the environmental health office in your municipality. This applies regardless of whether the suspect food was bought in a shop or eaten in a restaurant or elsewhere. By reporting your poisoning, you can prevent others from becoming ill.
Your municipality may issue boiling recommendations if there is a suspicion that the municipal tap water contains bacteria, viruses or parasites that could make you sick. In that case, you should:
- Boil all drinking or cooking water.
- Boil the water until it bubbles vigorously. This kills bacteria, viruses and parasites.
- Store boiled water in well-cleaned jugs, bottles or other containers and keep at or below room temperature.