FDA’s Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption
With the excessive amount of rain we’ve received so far this season, and the projection of an active hurricane season this fall, flooding is an issue for many farms this year, particularly in the Western end of the state. If your farm is susceptible to flooding, please read the FDA’s Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption, found at this link.
Per the guidance: “If the edible portion of a crop is exposed to flood waters, it is considered adulterated under section 402(a)(4) (21 U.S.C. 342(a)(4)) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and should not enter human food channels. There is no practical method of reconditioning the edible portion of a crop that will provide a reasonable assurance of human food safety. Therefore, the FDA recommends that these crops be disposed of in a manner that ensures they are kept separate from crops that have not been flood damaged to avoid adulterating “clean” crops (Ref. 1, 2, 3).”
The guidance also addresses potential microbial, chemical and fungal contamination, the safety of food crops when flood waters did NOT contact the edible portion of the crop, as well as flooding vs. pooled water.
Please contact MDAR’s Produce Safety Division if you have any questions regarding the safety of your crops.