After the Flood — Food Safety Advisory

For immediate release: September 6, 2011

Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health is advising gardeners to throw away any fruits and vegetables – including root crops – that have been in contact with floodwater. According to the federal Food and Drug Administration, all flood-affected crops – fruits and vegetables, above and below ground – should not be consumed, sold or given away.

Apples, pears or other high-growing fruit that were not touched by floodwater should be washed with a known safe source of water before eating.

“Any fresh produce that has been in contact with floodwaters cannot be considered safe to eat,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “This is a change from our earlier advisory. Because the flooding was so extensive and so forceful, there is potential for contamination that cannot be washed or disinfected away.”

Flood food safety guidance:

For more information about food safety after the flood –
Go to the Health Department’s website at, call 800-439-8550 (toll-free) or 863-7220 – or dial 2-1-1.

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