July 12, 2019
As Tropical Storm Barry impacts the Gulf Coast, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has resources to help growers who may be affected by the impacts to their crops from severe weather conditions.
The FDA’s Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption provides the information that producers can use as they assess potential damage to their food crops. This guidance is an important resource for the growers who produce and market these crops, as they are responsible for assuring the safety of flood-affected food crops for human consumption.
The FDA reminds harvesters that generally, if the edible portion of a crop is exposed to contaminated flood waters, it is considered “adulterated” under the Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and should not enter the human food supply. This applies to all food crops including underground crops (e.g., peanuts, potatoes). For crops (e.g., pecans) that were in or near flooded areas but where flood waters did NOT contact the edible portions of the crops, the growers should evaluate the safety of the crops for human consumption on a case-by-case basis for possible food safety concerns.
Previously harvested crops that may be deemed unsuitable for human food use sometimes can be salvaged for animal food. FDA will work with producers to consider requests to recondition an adulterated crop into animal food on a case-by-case basis. FDA’s compliance policy guide (CPG 675.200) provides a step-by-step process for reconditioning requests. Those requests should be directed to the following individuals in the relevant FDA field offices:
For contamination events that occur in the Gulf Coast region of the U.S.:
- Toni Williams (New Orleans, LA) - Toniette.Williams@fda.hhs.gov, 513-679-2700 x2160
- Edwin Ramos (Miami, FL) - Edwin.Ramos@fda.hhs.gov, 787-729-8662
We encourage growers to work with state regulators and local FDA offices to assess their unique situations and to take into consideration all possible types and routes of contamination from flood waters in determining whether a particular crop is adulterated.
For more information:
- Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption
- Safety of Food Affected by Hurricanes, Flooding, and Power Outages
- CVM Update: Resources for Animal Food Producers in Flooded Areas