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Some recent personal observations on Long Term Food Storage

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by erudne, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I recently had the opportunity to observe what happens when every rule of long term food storage is violated and the consequences there of. I pass my observations along to you.
    As we all know the cardinal rules of Long Term Food Storage are:
    Buy what you eat, eat what you buy and rotate stock.
    Store in a dark, cool dry place with proper packaging.
    Protect from pests.
    What I recently saw was a food storage area that was dark and damp with no ventilation or insulation. When I entered the room the reek of ammonia from mouse urine was so strong that it could not be entered again for several hours after the door was opened. Inside were stacks of plastic pails containing rice and beans with non locking lids, all covered with mouse droppings, that was not the worst part.
    There were two large wooden cabinets, on the shelf of the first was a cardboard box of grits, it had been eaten open and completely emptied of it’s contents. There were dozens of cans, mostly missing their labels due to the mice, some dozen cans of chili, another dozen of corned beef, tuna, fruits and veggies, all rusty due to humidity and urine. Two small cans had rusted through, it’s contents eaten by mice who latter moved into the cans and raised a family or more.
    The second cabinet held a large rodent nest, masses of canned goods on every shelf including bottled drinks, sauces, condiments, and several gallons of store bought wine, all stored in the vertical position. Despite being quite dark and cold the various drinks, condiments and wine had all changed color and ‘gone off’. On top of the cabinets cases of Ball Canning jars were stacked 4 cases of berry jam, and one case each of home canned smoked salmon and dill pickles.
    All the home canned products showed rust on the lids. There was mold growing inside the pickle jars and the jam was marked “No Good”, all were dated “1996” some of the commercial cans were dated 2004, most were older.
    In total there were enough canned goods to fill two 30 gallon trash cans, representing $1000 at todays prices. The dried foods in the 20 plastic tubs are deemed worthless as well (no date on tubs) but can be added to a friend’s compost bin.
    It is evident that there was a series of miss-steps that led to failure and the ruin of an otherwise sound food storage plan.
    #1
    The owner did not eat and rotate the stock, the mouse infestation would have been noted early on and the home canned foods would have been saved from spoilage (all that salmon!).
    #2
    The storage area violated all rules and common sense, the yearly freeze thaw cycles ruined the lid seals on the home canned foods and burst the seams of at least two cans in closet #1 as well as lifting the seals on bottled products. Storing a food product in a cardboard box simply provided mice with a safe haven for eating and breeding, especially since there was no attempt to control vermin.
    #3
    None of the store bought cans or bottles were labeled w/date of purchase or contents to aid rotation.
    #4
    Wooden cabinets allow rodents inside but kept cats out, sheet metal lockers or open shelving is superior.
    #5
    Drinks in plastic containers were untouched by rodents but spoiled in storage, possibably due to repeated freeze thaw cycles. Meat products in tins/cans/glass were not attacked by rodents but any type of paper was gnawed/eaten. Most commercial meat products were low moisture and so do not show signs of swelling associated w/freezing but due to no MFG date and general condition of the other stored items will be used as bear bait.
    I believe this experience points to the importance of maintaining a food rotation system w/labeling and common sense storage as a key element in all LTFS systems. Use Gamma Lids on your bulk storage buckets!
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  2. forefathersrback

    forefathersrback Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I hate seeing people loose their food storage that way. Sounds like a search and destroy mission is in order. With extreme prejudice.
     
  3. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    if nothing else, people should always have mouse traps all about their dwellings. Not a month goes by that I don't get at least one in my outdoor shed. At least once a year I get one in my attic.
     
  4. Kruejl

    Kruejl Hillsboro Moderator of the Coriolis effect Staff Member Gold Supporter Silver Supporter

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    I'm hungry.
     
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  5. CoastalGunner

    CoastalGunner Tidewater Active Member

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    So unfortunate.. this is why we have 3 outside cats. The misses always hates the daily prize kill at the door but I love the sight of a dead mouse or mole. Have never had a rodent in our storage container and I think they are the reason why.
     
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  6. CoastalGunner

    CoastalGunner Tidewater Active Member

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    And with three teenagers in the house rotating stock is well maintained :p
     
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  7. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    this home has 2 cats but they could not get into the cabinets due to the doors
     
  8. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to post this, good to be reminded of the basics. Felt-tip marker date on the lids, including "use by" info is essential.
     
  9. cookie

    cookie THE SOCIALIST STATE OF KALI - FORNIA Well-Known Member

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    We call mice ,rats squirrels, the neighbors cats, dogs ,birds from the garden and gophers stew meat.
     
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  10. 308

    308 ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Platinum Supporter Silver Supporter

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    To this thread I say "Talitha Cumi"...

    The reason?

    I was inventorying my food stuffs and found a mouse to have wreaked havoc on my Mt.House supplies and an assortment of other things. In 16-years I have never had a mouse in the storage area, but that all changed recently when we heard some scratching going on and I went a lookin'

    Now I am on a search and destroy mission. Pls wish me luck. :D
     
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  11. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I recently came across some lightly rusted cans of various age in a closet that had a mouse nest. The rust was due to proximity of rodent urine which has a heavy % of ammonia in it
     
  12. 308

    308 ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Platinum Supporter Silver Supporter

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    The sticky mats work wonders. I stuck 9-mice in two days. Also the Decon is like crack for this little bastages. A couple weeks later and no mice.
     
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  13. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    +1 on the sticky mats.
    I have all my stuff in storage until I take possession of my new house.(closing is today,yea!!!)
    I stopped by to pick something up and saw some mouse turds on a roll of paper towel my dog had chewed up.
    Guess the mouse was going to finish it off for a nest.
    Anyway my food stores are in there.The mouse must have been ecstatic over me bringing him food for the next month. I must kill him or he'll come to live with me at the house:mad:
     
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  14. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    in any food storage system rodents are the #1/2 enemy because they bring in associated disease.
    My 5 gallon buckets/w gamma lids has defeated this threat
    PS I don't sell any of this stuff
     
  15. leadischeap

    leadischeap VA Member

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    I have a buddy whose entire plan rests on old dark brown MRE from better than 20 years ago and 20-40 pounds of rice do used with diatomaceous earth.


    He has checked the rice in 20years but swears it is good. Same for the MRE stash.

    Rotate, rotate, rotate
    Stuff goes bad and if your plans rests on spoiled food you are done.
    Same for batteries, water, fuel, toilet paper, sanitary products.
    Take a minute check your stocks.

    Why the hell would you want to eat 10 year old food anyway ? :(:eek::mad:
     
  16. powersbj

    powersbj Seattle Area Active Member

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    You really want to watch out for rats, the pheromones that rats use to lay trails can take up to a year to dissipate. Other rats follow these trails, if you OVER bait with a decon type poison it can take up to 3 days to kill, in those 3 days the poisoned rat travels nest to bait leaving urine trails attracting more and more rats (rats follow each others pheromone pee trails) from surrounding areas causing more and more urine trails causing more and more rats.... It can take a couple of years to solve a serious rat problem. Cats help, the cat urine around the property is a big deterrent. If you feed birds you are also feeding rats, if you have fruit trees you have rats, if you live near farms/fields of produce you have rats. You need to take measures to beat the bastards down, there actually is an art to it and worth learning. (I have relatives in the biz)
     
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  17. Cortes

    Cortes Tualatin Active Member

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    Would like to hear more about the art of beating down rodents!
     
  18. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    In my experience chickens are far better mousers than cats. But then, the smell of cats may be enough to keep mice away most of the time. I'm always inspecting for "vile rice;" when I find mouse droppings, I treat the site with freshly baited traps and don't let up until I've caught the little ba$stard. I just got one a couple days ago in the laundry room.

    I really appreciate this thread, and it comports with my own experience. Please allow me to add a few observations:
    • Anything containing tomatoes is too acidic to keep, whether in a can or in a glass jar with a steel lid.
    • Pull-top cans like you find on soups are worthless, breaking down and leaking much faster than ordinary cans.
    • Oil-packed cans last much longer than water-packed cans (e.g., tuna).
    • A multilayer metalized heat-sealed bag inside a pail with an ordinary snap-on lid is a fine way to keep dry food. But be sure to include oxygen- and/or water-absorber packets inside the bag.
    https://www.usaemergencysupply.com/...storage-equipment/mylar-bags-for-food-storage
    http://shop.honeyville.com/products/emergency-supplies/oxygen-absorbers.html
     
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  19. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I have some pull tab soup cans with light rust on the lids, I'll test em in the next ten days and submit a report:confused:
     
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  20. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    http://www.lowes.com/cd_Get+Rid+of+Mice+in+Your+House_1262198233_

    http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/ehs/rats.aspx