Food Safety Guidance for Flooded Farms
Water in produce fields: is it flood water or pooling water? There are food safety concerns for both, but the risks are not equal. Flood water that contacts the edible portion of the crop is considered adulteration because flood water is out of the farms control and is likely to contain contamination (microorganisms and chemicals) picked up as it flows onto the farm. Adulterated crops can’t be offered for consumption.
Pooling water is under the farm’s control as it is not flowing onto the farm from off the farm. Pooling water that contacts the edible portion of a crop should be considered contact with the ground. If that crop doesn’t normally contact the ground, reach out to DACF or UMCE for suggestions specific to your situation.
Here are some one-pagers for guidance on flood and pooling water:
DACF Lindsay Werner 207-592-6787 Lindsay.Werner@Maine.gov
UMCE Robson Machado 207-581-3144 Robson.Machado@Maine.edu