The last time a US supermarket was forced to close down due to a food-safety scare, it was in 1987.
Now, in the wake of a record-breaking outbreak of food-borne illnesses, a number of retailers are in the midst of closing.
A few are opening again.
Here’s how to avoid food-related closures and keep yourself stocked in case they happen again.1.
Buy locally sourced products, like local beef and pork, or even produce from local farmers, says the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA advises consumers to keep their local grocery store in their area, but don’t expect to find it easy to find fresh produce or produce that’s locally grown.2.
Organic products are not necessarily organic, but they’re not necessarily high-quality, either, according to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
That means they may contain genetically modified ingredients, or they may be contaminated with pesticide residues or other contaminants.
They’re also more expensive to purchase.
So buy organic when you can.3.
Buy prepared food.
Make sure you cook, refrigerate and store your food at home, says Dr. Jeffrey Gendler, director of the National Center for Emerging Foodborne Diseases and the director of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease Prevention at the CDC.
It’s the safest way to prepare food for yourself, your family and your community, he says.4.
There are a few local food markets, including the Whole Foods Market, but it’s still important to make sure that you can get your produce, meats and prepared foods there, Gendeler says.
You’ll likely have to order your produce through the mail, but you’ll be able to pick up your food and get it delivered.5.
Look for locally produced produce at local grocery stores and online.
If you can’t find it locally, you can always shop at the grocery store, Gendsler says.
They might have a lot of local produce, but some may be less fresh or have a few contaminants.6.
It may take a few weeks for a foodborne illness outbreak to show up in your area, Gende says.
If that happens, look for the following:1.
Look out for signs of illness such as cough, fever and runny nose.2,3.
Look to see if you have symptoms or symptoms of other illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.4,5.
Call your doctor.
The CDC has an online tool for reporting foodborne illnesses and other health issues to the public.
You can also use the online form at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, or you can call the toll-free number: 1-800-CDC-INFO.