Thorough cooking will reduce contamination to a safe
level so that food can be consumed.
Food items stored in the freeze space in
impermeable containers (tamed frozen strawberries,
for example) may be decontaminated by immersing the
containers for 15 minutes in a solution of water to which
200-ppm available chlorine has been added; the
containers are then rinsed with potable water.
Food items stored in the freeze space in permeable
containers (frozen vegetables, for example) may be
decontaminated as outlined earlier for food packaged in
sacks or other permeable containers.
Food items stored in the freeze space, but not
contained in outer packaging (meat, for example), must
be completely thawed and thoroughly cooked before
they are eaten.
Hands should be free of contamination during the
opening operations to make sure the contents are not
contaminated. Opened cans of fruit jam, jelly, or similar
foods must be destroyed. Opened cans of vegetables
may be decontaminated by boiling the vegetables for a
minimum of 15 minutes in a steam-jacketed kettle.
Biological Decontamination in Food
The use of heat is the most practical means of
decontaminating biologically contaminated foods. In
no case should decontaminated food be consumed until
it is pronounced safe by a medical officer.
recommended that, insofar as possible, only foods
contained in impermeable packages (cans, bottles, jars)
be decontaminated and used for meal preparation.
Food items that are not packaged or that are
packaged in permeable containers may be cooked by
either cooking in a pressure-type cooker at 15 pounds
of pressure at 250°F (or 121°C) for 15 minutes or boiling
for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Certain contaminated items may be decontaminated
by baking. Only those recipes listed in the Armed Forces
Recipe Service (AFRS) that specify an oven
temperature of 400°F and above, for a cooking period
of 30 minutes or longer, should be used to prepare baked
items from contaminated ingredients.
All meats except those contained in decontaminated
impermeable containers (canned meat items) must be
cooked to the well-done stage. Guidance cards in the
AFRS include information on internal temperatures
indicating the well-done state.
Biological Decontamination of Water
The detection of water contamination and requisite
laboratory analysis are responsibilities of the medical
department. Biological decontamination of water is not
difficult when regular water treatment facilities exist.
However, more chlorine probably will need to be added
during the ordinary processing of the water. If no water
treatment facilities are available, water can be
decontaminated by any of the following methods:
1. By boiling for 20 minutes
2. By using iodine tablets coupled with boiling
A medical officer should approve the method of
decontaminating; after the decontamination process, the
officer should determine whether or not the water is fit
to be used. Water that has been decontaminated must be
protected against further contamination.
DEFENSE AGAINST CHEMICAL
The United States has committed itself against
initiating the use of chemical agents. However, it is
necessary to be prepared against attack by an enemy
using this type of warfare.
A chemical agent is defined as a solid, liquid, or gas
that, through its chemical properties, produces lethal or
damaging effects on man, animals, plants, or material,
or produces a screening or signaling smoke.
Chemical warfare agents, like the biological
warfare agents, are used mainly because of their effect
on personnel, although some agents will have a
corrosive effect on specific materials, and incendiary
devices will burn most materials. These agents produce
a harmful physiological reaction when applied to the
body externally, inhaled, or ingested. Most chemical
agents cause disorganization of the functioning of the
The degree of contamination of the messing area
and equipment depends on the chemical agent used and
the factors involved, such as the method of delivery
(vapor, light liquid, and heavy liquid), the weather, and
the various strengths of contamination.