If your food business has been flooded there could be a serious risk to public health from infection and food contamination. Do not prepare any food or re-open the establishment until the premises have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The flood water may be contaminated with sewage, harmful bacteria and other pollutants such as oil, petrol and other contamination.


  • Remove ALL ambient stored food to a flood safe area.  This may be to upper floors or to other premises in flood safe areas.
  • Use all the food in the refrigerator or empty it and dispose of the food.
  • Relocate the frozen food to a freezer in a flood safe area or empty it and dispose of the food.
  • Put sandbags or flood boards in place, but make sure the property is ventilated.  Plug sinks/ baths and put a sandbag in the toilet bowl to prevent backflow.  Planks and rags can be used to block airbricks and or bottoms of doors.
  • Move vehicles, valuables and other items to a flood safe area.  This may be to upper floors or to other premises in flood safe areas.
  • Remove all cleaning chemical and oil to a flood safe area.  This may be to upper floors or to other premises in flood safe areas.


  • Put your safety first: leave when advised to do so.
  • Before leaving the premises, turn off the water, gas and electricity.
  • Unplug electrical items and move them to a flood safe area if possible.  This may be to upper floors or to other premises in flood safe areas.
  • Floodwater may be affected by raw sewage; consequently food poisoning organisms may be present in it.  Therefore do not come into contact with it unless necessary. Always wear rubber gloves to clean surfaces or move objects that have been in contact with the flood water. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly during and between handling and cleaning up contaminated items and after removing rubber gloves.


  • Contact your insurance company, they may need to see the damage so don’t move anything or dispose of anything unless they have seen it, or have instructed you to do so.
  • Take photos of the damage and make lists of damaged equipment and stock, your insurance company may need this.
  • If your food premises are affected by floodwater they must be closed.  Contact Regulatory Services; Food and Health and Safety Section on 01226 773743 and inform us of your situation.
  • Do not attempt to open until you have fully cleaned and disinfected everything affected by the flood water and contacted Regulatory Services; Food and Health and Safety Section on 01226 773743.
  • Don’t be tempted to use, decant, eat or sell any food (this includes all open food, packaged food, bottled and tinned food and drink products) that has come into contact with sewage or contaminated floodwater.
  • If you need a ‘Voluntary Surrender Certificate or a ‘Food Condemnation Notice’ for disposed food or drink products to meet your insurer’s requirements, contact us without delay on 01226 773743. We will log your enquiry and issue you with the necessary certification.
  • Appliances/ water:
  • Water:  If you have concerns about the water supplied to your premises, please contact Yorkshire water on 0845 1242424
  • Electricity:  If electrical appliances and or systems have been affected by the flood water and you intend to keep them, they should be checked and tested by a qualified electrician before they are turned on.  For advice and assistance you should contact your electricity supplier.
  • Gas:  If you can smell gas phone Transco gas emergency service on 0800 111 999.

You should also:

  • Open all doors and windows to ventilate the property
    • Ensure that the gas is turned off at the control valve
    • Do not turn on/off any electrical switches
    • Extinguish all naked flames,
    • Don’t smoke, strike matches or do anything that could cause an ignition.

All gas systems and appliances affected by floodwater (i.e. cookers, fires, cylinders), should be checked by a GAS SAFE registered engineer before being put back into use. 


  • Once you have spoken to your insurance, loss assessors and Regulatory Services, you should assess the situation and work out an action plan.
  • Flood water may be affected by raw sewage, consequently when the flood water subsides, it will leave a deposit (silt) which may be contaminated with sewage.  Consequently any personnel carrying out the cleaning should wear protective clothing including gloves, footwear (rubber boots) and overalls.  Beware of hidden sharp objects and clear carefully.
  • General cleaning
  • Equipment needed: Mops, buckets, detergent, disinfectant, scrubbing brushes, floor brushes, shovels and black plastic sacks.
  • General clean up:
  • Remove all water, mud and other debris
  • Rinse away contamination inside the premises
  • Remove the rinse water
  • Disinfect and dry out the premises
  • Food preparation area and equipment.  Clean all food preparation surfaces, equipment, beer glasses, food containers, crockery and utensils with hot water and then disinfect with a food safe disinfectant (disinfectant or sanitiser that meets BSEN1276:1997 or BSEN 13697:2001, adhering to manufacturer’s instructions, particularly regarding the contact time of the disinfectant ie. how long it needs to be in contact with the surface to kill bacteria).Beer lines should be cleaned as they may have been contaminated. Optics and beer pumps must also be cleaned and disinfected. Wooden beer casks which have been in contact with flood waters must be discarded. Metal beer barrels may be able to be used as long as the flood water has not reached any connected outlet or inlet.
  • Food stock.  Food, including wrapped food, tins, which has been in contact with the floodwater, must be disposed of properly so that it cannot re enter the food chain.  This includes beer in barrels and bottles, wines, spirits and soft drinks. Initially it should be double bagged and ideally placed in a sealed container to prevent attracting pests.
  • Wrapping and packaging.  All containers and packaging affected by flood water will need to be disposed of.
  • Removal of non food waste.  Any items which cannot be salvaged and need to be disposed of a by removal company for appliances.  They must not be allowed to accumulate outside the premises as they may become a harbourage area for rodents.  Ring Waste management on 01226 772050 for any advice on disposal.
  • Rodent Infestation.  Rodents will have been disturbed by the rising water level and will have moved to places above the water line.  They may have entered your premises, taken up residence and caused damage.  If you think that you might have rats or mice in the premises, I would advise you to have a check made by a pest control company.  Barnsley M.B.C pest control team are contactable on 01226 77205, for any advice.  Please note advice is free but if a visit is made, there will be a charge.
  • Building Control.  If you become aware that any part of your buildings or nearby walls have become unsafe, please contact Building Control immediately on 01226 772678.
  • Health and Safety. Don’t forget that tackling floodwater can be dangerous. Always think about how you are going to prevent injury or illness before you start clearing up. Here are a few common solutions:
  • Wear waterproof clothing that can be washed or old clothes that can be thrown away if they become muddy – floodwater contains raw sewage and unknown chemicals
  • Wear strong rubber gloves
  • Wear boots with good grips and tread carefully to avoid slipping
  • Take care to avoid tripping over debris and submerged objects
  • Because drain covers may have been removed check your step forward into mud or water using a pole
  • Take extra care when climbing stairs or using ladders
  • Do not go near moving water – wait for it to subside
  • Have Gas and electric systems checked for safety before using them (see above)
  • If asbestos has become damaged contact Barnsley MBC Regulatory Services Health and Safety Team for advice.
  • Thoroughly wash hands and shower when you have finished.

You can contact Health and Safety for advice on 01226 773743.


  • Your premises can be reopened when:
  • The premises and equipment are clean
  • The structure is clean and dry
  • There is a clean water supply
  • The wash hand basins and sinks have hot and cold water
  • The toilets flush and are clean
  • The drains are running freely
  • There is electricity and gas where needed
  • There is no rodent infestation
  • The refrigerators and freezers are working at the correct temperatures.   
  • Please contact Regulatory Services, Food Safety Section prior to re- opening on 01226 773743.



Tel: 01226 773743

Sign up to receive our newsletter.

Keep up to date with news and information from Enterprising Barnsley.
* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Enterprising Barnsley:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.