Flooding in the vegetable garden

  • Published: Monday, June 17, 2019

flooded pumpkin patchIf floodwaters have covered your garden, consider the produce unsafe for humans or animals to eat. If floodwaters have contacted the edible portion of a crop, it is illegal to sell.

If they have been touched by floodwaters, discard leafy vegetables, fleshy fruits or vegetables (like tomatoes, berries and summer squash), root crops, corn, grains and even produce with a hard, protective skin. Record all losses.

If the edible portion develops after floodwaters recede, in some cases it might possibly be safe to eat. MU Extension has an extensive list of frequently asked questions on flooded produce that can provide more information: ipm.missouri.edu/MEG/2017/5/FAQfloodedProduce.

Segregate nonflood-affected crops and sanitize yourself and your equipment between fields to avoid cross-contamination.

When it comes to food safety, when in doubt, throw it out.

Learn more at your local extension center or online at extension.missouri.edu/programs/flood-resources.

Related resource: “Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-Affected Food Crops for Human Consumption,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, http://bit.ly/2KMQzVr.

Adapted by Londa Nwadike with permission from West Virginia University.

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