I’m not trying to scare you with the title, but in this case it’s important. Some of these mistakes could be lethal even before SHTF, if part of your stockpile rotation process includes eating some of it now.
These aren’t your average food stockpiling mistakes, as you’re about to witness. So let’s see them!
Lethal Mistake #1: Stockpiling Food They’re Allergic To
How frustrating would it be to stockpile a lot of peanut butter, for instance, and suddenly discover that you’re allergic to peanuts? Right now you have the luxury of eating something else but what if peanut butter is going to be the last food in your pantry and you won’t be able to eat anything else?
Solution: make a list of all the things you and your family are allergic to and plan your food stockpile accordingly. Even better, go to a clinic and take one of those allergy tests that will check to see if you’re allergic to dozens and dozens of substances. They’re quick and don’t hurt at all.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should NOT hoard peanut butter simply because you’re allergic to it. Maybe your family isn’t and you don’t want to deprive your children of this comfort food when they need it most, right?
Lethal Mistake #2: Improper Home Canning
Who could argue that canned food is not the best, cheapest and most popular prepper food on the market? Canning is not that hard if you follow the recipe to the letter but it can lead to a very serious illness called botulism.
Using proper canning techniques is critical to avoid this horrible disease that has the worst of symptoms: double vision, being tired, and barely being able to move.
There are two types of canning methods: water bath and pressure. The first one is easier but only works for certain types of foods that are high-acidic. If you want to make absolutely sure you don’t get infected with botulism, pressure canning is recommended. This is because the temperatures used are even higher which kills the Clostridium botulinum bacteria.
Before you eat canned food, you should carefully inspect the container. If it’s swollen, cracked, bulged or if the food is foamy, discolored, or smells bad, you should throw away that food immediately.
Lethal Mistake #3: Letting Air Inside Their Stockpiled Food
There’s a good reason why we use mylar bags + oxygen absorbers for the vast majority of the survival food we stockpile.
Here’s what happens. A lot of the foods we store for long-term survival have fat in them. In time, this fat reacts with oxygen which makes the food go rancid
Storing food in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers inside the bag, prevents the food from spoiling. You do need to make sure the bags area sealed tightly, though.
Lethal Mistake #4: Reusing Canning Lids
You can reuse the canning jars but NEVER the canning lids. The jar lids have rubber gaskets around them that must be flat to ensure no air gets into the jar. When you use the lids once, the gasket is dented which means using it again will let air get through.
If you plan to can your food, then canning lids are actually a fantastic item to stockpile more than you need of. They will probably be hard to find post-collapse so you can also use them for bartering purposes.
Lethal Mistake #5: Re-purposing Milk or Juice Containers to Store Water
Using plastic jugs or cardboard containers that used to hold milk or juice is a big no-no when storing potable water for your survival. These containers cannot be properly cleaned and you can bet anything that bacteria is going to start growing inside. You may not know it until SHTF and you go to use the water.
Lethal Mistake #6: Eating Wild Game Without Cooking It First
OK, so you probably never experienced this, but it doesn’t hurt to know about it. If you’re out there in the wild, you’re starving, and you finally manage to catch something, don’t rush to eat it raw. You need to cook it, otherwise the parasites and bacteria in the animal could cause you serious harm.
Lethal Mistake #7: Eating Wild Mushrooms
There are literally thousands of mushrooms in the United States with only about 100 species being poisonous. Nevertheless, attempting to eat them, will surely put your life in the hands of Lady Luck.
Many non-poisonous mushrooms have look alike counterparts. It’s nearly impossible to distinguish between the ones that are ok to eat and the ones that aren’t.
Unless you’re really really familiar with the types of mushrooms that grow in your location, I strongly suggest you suck it up until you find something else to eat.
Lethal Mistake #8: Using Trash-Can Liners to Store Food
Many of these are actually treated with pesticides, so the last thing you want is to keep food in them!
Lethal Mistake #9: Storing All Their Food in the Same Place
If your house is looted or if a hurricane knocks it down, you’re left with no food and your chances of survival are strongly diminished. Then what?
You should never put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to your food stockpile. Some of the other places you can store part of your prepping supplies include:
- your bug-out vehicle
- your bug-out location
- your barn
- your tool sheds
- in fake garbage bins in your backyard
Lethal Mistake #10: Ignoring The Storage Temperature
Most people know they need to store their food in a cool, dark place, such as a basement. But there are still those who store food in their garage when temperatures can skyrocket during summer months. This can be lethal.
Lethal Mistake #11: Not Freezing Pasta Before Storing It
Pasta is stored the old fashioned way, inside Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. However, there’s a catch. Pasta has these larvae eggs that start developing over time. Freezing pasta for a few days before storing it away long term, prevents this problem.
Lethal Mistake #12: Feeding Their Pets The Wrong Food When SHTF
As you may or may not know, not everything we eat is also good for our pets. Give your dog enough chocolate and it could die. What you should do is stockpile pet food for lean times along with bug-out bags for each of your little friends.
Lethal Mistake #13: Not Keeping In Mind Their Medical Condition
If you’re a diabetic, you obviously can’t stockpile the same foods everyone else is, right? I’m no doctor so you should definitely check with yours to make sure that the foods you’re about to hoard are indeed good for you.
Lethal Mistake #14: Failing at COMSEC
You can have all the food in the world but if you tell anyone, that news will spread and the wrong (read desperate) people are going to hear about it. In times of social breakdown, they might not hesitate to take you down to get to your food or water supply.
COMSEC (which stands for communications security) simply means keeping your mouth shut (even when you feel like bragging about what a good prepper you are!).
Lethal Mistake #15: Keeping Expired Antibiotics
Again, I’m no doctor, by my extensive research has shown that it’s best not to mess with expired antibiotics, particularly if they’re in liquid form. This is somewhat controversial, but make it a rule never to take antibiotics past their expiration dates. You’re better safe than sorry.
Lethal Mistake #16: Cooking When They Aren’t Supposed To
The smell of cooking is going to attract a lot of zombies post-collapse. People who will do anything for a scrap of food. When you are in this situation, it’s best to avoid cooking altogether if you can. Focus on things like canned food that will not tip anyone off that you have what they need.
Lethal Mistake #17: Not Washing The Edible Plants They Find
This is of particular importance in the city, where you risk picking up plants (as part of your foraging efforts) that have urine and pesticides on them.
Though I haven’t heard of people dying from eating clovers with pee on them, I have heard of a few dying from drinking from soda cans that had rat pee on them. You can’t always see animal urine, feces, or pesticide residue.
The bottom line: you should always wash every edible plant you intend to consume.
I added these here simply because they make sense. They won’t kill you but they will temporarily affect how your body will function.
Mistake #18: Eating Freeze-Dried Food Without Adding Water
I haven’t heard of anyone actually trying this but my guess is that the absence of water is going to dehydrate you a little bit, and that’s something you don’t want to see happening post-collapse. Being fully hydrated will be so important for your energy level.
Mistake #19: Eating Snow
Eating snow, without melting it first, takes extra energy for your body to heat it. The last thing you want in an emergency is to expend much-needed energy and lower your core body temperature. Plus, the cold feeling you’re going to experience in your throat and stomach is not going to be pleasant, I assure you.
Take the time to melt the snow and if you can, remove some of the pollutants by purifying it, and then drink it.
Mistake #20: Not Having the Tools and Knowledge to Process and Eat the Food
If you have a lot of cans but no can opener, it’s going to be tough to make it. Yes, there are ways to open cans without a can opener but you expend more energy.
If you stockpiled a lot of whole grains but you have no grinder, again, it is going to be tough. If you store food items, but have no idea how to cook them in a post-SHTF situation, you’re pretty much stuck.
Mistake #21: Putting Only One Type of Food Inside a Bug Out Bucket
The reason is simple. If you have to bug out when disaster strikes, you’re gonna have just a few minutes to load as much food as you can in your car before you get out of there. So, in the event that you can only grab one or maybe two buckets, it will make life easier if there is a small variety of foods in each bucket.
Of course, each Mylar bag should have only one type of food but you can put various separate Mylar bags into one bucket.
Mistake #22: Putting Oxygen Absorbers With Sugar
Nothing bad will happen if you eat the sugar, but putting O2 absorbers into your sugar is going to really solidify it. When you open it, you’ll have a solid block of sugar, you just don’t want that.
Mistake #23: Using Bleach Past Its Expiration Date
Few people consider that bleach only has a shelf life of about 6 months. You need to rotate it twice a year. Failing to do this could compromise your water stockpile.
The good news is that bleach has a lot of other purposes besides purifying water, so it’s not a total waste of money:
- disinfecting your bathroom and kitchen
- chlorinating a well
- and doing laundry, of course
What was the one big food or water stockpiling mistake that could have killed you? Let everyone know in a comment below.