Food Safety for Flooded Farms


These catastrophic events can have a lingering and potentially hazardous impact on public health. Crops and other food commodities exposed to flood waters can be considered adulterated and not suitable for human consumption or animal feed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as Universities and Extension Programs across the country, have provided guidance on how to handle flood crops, keeping food safety in mind.


Quick Facts

  • There are two types of flooding. The first is more typical and occurs after a heavy downpour when fields become saturated and water pools on the soil surface. The second type of flooding is more severe and occurs when water or runoff from surface waters such as rivers, lakes, or steams overflow and run into fields
  • There are two primary types of contamination that are of concern for food crops. Microbial Contamination and Chemical Contamination
  • If an edible portion of a crop has been exposed to flood waters, it is considered adulterated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and should not enter human food channels.
  • Crops near flooded areas or those that were flooded without the edible part of the plant coming in contact with the flood water (such as sweet corn or staked tomatoes) need to be evaluated on a case by case basis.