Food Safety With Flooded Food Crops & Marketing Assessments

— Written By Diane Ducharme and last updated by

We are receiving questions on how to assess and manage crops that are still in the fields when the floodwaters have come. I wanted to forward this FDA’s guidance on the food safety issues associated with “flooded” or “rain pooled” fields for food crops for human consumption and options for handling whether the product can enter commerce. Please use this guide for determining how to proceed:
Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption

The guidance set forth best management practices given current research-based information on:

  • Defines flooding vs. pooled water (after rainfalls)
  •  Safety of food crops when floodwaters contacted the edible portions of the crops (surface & underground crops, crops with a hard outer skin or shell, and grains, nuts, corns, etc.)
  • Safety of food crops when floodwaters did NOT contact the edible portions of the crops
  • Assessment of Flood-affected Fields before Replanting, possible testing needed, and while crops are not in the fields
  • Additional Controls to Avoid Cross-contamination after Flooding

This guidance and other resources can be found on the NC Fresh Produce Safety website so that you can refer to this resource for more information.

NC State University and the NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force has a team of experts ready to assist! Please don’t hesitate to contact me (Diane_Ducharme@ncsu.edu) or any member of the team should you have further concerns.