Local News

Agriculture Department Inspectors Check Food Safety In Hurricane-Damaged Counties

Posted September 21, 2003 10:48 a.m. EDT

— About a dozen food and drug inspectors from the

North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

were in the field over the weekend inspecting grocery and convenience stores, retail and wholesale processors, food warehouses and other food suppliers to assist businesses in determining if food products are safe for consumers.

Food and drug

inspectors already have conducted field investigations at 383 food firms in 24 counties affected by the storm and have had a reported estimate of $4 million in food and facilities having been damaged or destroyed.

Meat and Poultry

inspectors also have begun assessing processing facilities in the areas affected by Hurricane Isabel to ensure food safety.

Inspectors have contacted 85 of the 91 processing facilities in the affected area with minimal reports of product loss. Backup generators and refrigerated trucks prevented more losses from power outages.

Both teams of inspectors will be continuing their efforts to ensure food safety and proper disposal of damaged-food products.

"Our inspectors moved quickly into the areas affected by power outages and other effects of the storm to assist businesses in assessing the safety of their food products," Interim Agriculture Commissioner Britt Cobb said.""Many businesses have been through this before and have already begun the disposal process.

"If consumers have questions about food in their homes, the best rule of thumb is: 'When in doubt, throw it out,'" Cobb said.

Consumers also can contact the

Food and Drug Protection Division


(919) 733-7366

with specific questions.

Counties inspected by Food and Drug inspectors include: Beaufort, Bertie, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Durham, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Lenior, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne, and Wilson.

Inspectors will be continuing their work in many of those areas as power is restored and more businesses open.