FDA warns against flood-affected crops

The Food and Drug Administration has released a letter warning state agriculture departments and agencies about the potential adulteration of flood-affected crops in the wake of Hurricane Irene. According to the letter, if the edible portion of a crop was touched by flood waters, it is immediately considered adulterated and should not enter human food channels.

The Food and Drug Administration has released a letter warning state agriculture departments and agencies about the potential adulteration of flood-affected crops in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

According to the letter, if the edible portion of a crop was touched by flood waters, it is immediately considered adulterated and should not enter human food channels. All other crops should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Fresh fruits and vegetables inundated by flood waters cannot be adequately cleaned and should also be destroyed, according to the FDA.

As far as assessment of fields for replanting after flooding, the FDA recommends:

  • Assessing field history and crop selection.
  • Determining the time interval between the flooding event, crop planting and crop harvest.
  • Determining the source of flood waters (e.g., drainage canal, river or irrigation canal) and whether there are significant upstream potential contributors of human pathogens.
  • Allowing soils to dry sufficiently and be reworked prior to subsequently planting crops on formerly flooded production ground.
  • Sampling previously flooded soil for the presence of microorganisms of significant public health concern or appropriate indicator microorganisms.

Further questions can be directed to the FDA or the American Feed Industry Association

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