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Survival

Troubleshoot This: Liquid Fuel Leaked into Food Bag

Now your chow is marinated in white gas. Are your edibles still eatable?

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Bin it. Pack out and discard any unpackaged food directly contacted by fuel.

Wipe, not wash. Act fast. Use toilet paper or a scrap of a bandana to sop up fuel and wipe wrappers—this won’t get them clean, but it will contain the spill and keep gas from soaking further into food packaging. Never introduce fuel into streams or soil.

Inspect. White gas, kerosene, denatured alcohol, and other liquid fuels can degrade plastic, paper packaging, and sealant glues, such as that on energy-bar wrappers. Foil-lined wrappers are the most gas-resistant. Look to see which ones are still sealed and intact, then extract the untainted food carefully. Before eating, do a smell test: Discard food if there’s even a whiff of fuel.

Detox. Accidentally ingested a bit of white gas? Drink 1 liter of water or milk (rehydrated dried milk works, and its lactic acids help slow absorption in your stomach) to dilute it. Expect a little nausea, diarrhea, and cramps, but if choking, coughing, or vomiting begins, evacuate immediately (this could be a sign of aspiration; liquid fuels are devastating to lung tissue) and call the American Association of Poison Control Centers hotline: (800) 222-1222.