How Safe are Vegetables that were Flooded?
With the recent flooding across the state questions have been asked about how safe the produce is that was affected by the flood.
Vegetables submersed in flood water that may have been contaminated with sewage, animal manures or herbicides from neighboring properties can be dangerous and should be avoided. The safest approach is to discard all vegetables exposed to this type of water, especially leafy vegetables. Portions of plants that were not submersed in water or developed after the flood water receded may still be safe to eat. Be sure to wash all vegetables thoroughly before eating.
In addition to fresh produce, the Food and Ag Products Center (or FAPC) released guidelines on how to go about cleaning up foods after a flood event. http://fapc.biz/news/ensure-food-and-beverages-are-safe-to-consume-after-a-flood These guidelines are very helpful to know how to safely clean up items to keep and to know what to discard. They also have a handy app for food safety information.
FAPC, a part of OSU's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that will stimulate and support the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.
For more information about food safety, text FAPC to 80802 to download the free FAPC Connect app or visit www.fapcconnect.com<http://www.fapcconnect.com/>.
If you are planning a new garden spot in the future, problems encountered this year help us see why drainage is so very important to consider. For commercial growers, during a flood prone year, site selection can be critical, as well as having a clean water source. If you market garden produce, you may want to check out this fact sheet for produce safety guidelines.