Which foods should you stock up on in case of an emergency?

It seems like every time there are reports of a storm or any possible disaster or emergency that may leave people trapped in their homes for several days, the supermarkets understandably become crowded nightmares.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you’re waiting until the last minute or simply preparing in advance, there are plenty of items that every home should be stocked up on —  just in case. And if you do have to venture out to the stores ahead of an emergency, you should at least know what to be looking for as you fight the crowds.

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According to Ready.gov, it’s a smart idea to stock up on certain types of non-perishable foods. The guidelines suggest stocking up on canned goods, dry mixes and other items that don’t “require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation.

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The website recommends keeping obvious items like “ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener” – preferably a manual one – readily stocked.

Other food items on Ready.gov's list include peanut butter, dried fruit, canned juices, non-perishable pasteurized milk, high energy foods and food for infants.

It's also a good idea to have eating utensils handy, the experts say.

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The site recommends keeping these foods in covered containers for protection, adding that it’s probably not safe to eat food “from cans that are swollen, dented or corroded, even though the product may look safe to eat.”

Lastly, if the power does go out, it’s recommended to leave the refrigerator and freezer shut as much as possible. “The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened,” the site states. “Refrigerated or frozen foods should be kept at 40° F or below for proper food storage,” Ready.gov explains.

"To be safe, remember, 'When in doubt, throw it out.'"

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Dr. Carl Batt, a professor of Food Science at Cornell University, had previously also detailed the five items he would choose to keep in his personal shelter, in terms of those that resist spoilage, or provide the necessary protein and nutrients.

He also reiterated that canned food, while it does "last a long time," is not safe to eat once the "can is compromised," he told Fox News.

"Sometimes they rust from the outside in because of moisture; other times the acids in the food cause the can to corrode," Batt said, noting that this is especially the case with high acid/low pH choices like tomatoes. However, "once [any] can is open, all bets are off."