Flooding and fresh produce food safety
22 June 2022, NZ: New Zealand has experienced severe weather resulting in flooding in many parts of the country over the last few weeks. It is important that growers manage the food safety of fresh produce after floods and major rains.
If your property has been affected by floodwater it is important to undertake a risk assessment taking into consideration things such as whether the edible portion of the crop has been directly exposed to the floodwater or by floodwater ‘splash’ and how any affected crop can be identified and food safety risks managed.
Floodwaters may have:
- microbial contamination caused by contaminated by sewerage/septic tanks, animal waste, dead animals and decaying vegetative waste
- chemical contamination including petroleum products, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals. Potential sources of chemical contamination will vary greatly depending on the severity of the flood and the proximity to other operations
- contaminated water supplies.
The Fresh Produce Safety Centre of Australia and New Zealand has compiled key principles for produce food safety after flooding which can be found here.
In addition to considering these principles as they apply to your specific set of circumstances it would always be advisable to discuss with your customer any proposed course of action.
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