Fruit and vegetable growers that fell victim to flooding are being advised to not use the altered produce as food.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says if the part of the plant used for food came into contact with contaminated flood water it should not be harvested for human consumption.
Uncontrolled flood water has the potential to contain numerous contaminants, officials said. Gardeners in flood-impacted areas are urged to carefully assess the status of their fruits and vegetables.
"Flood waters can contain a wide variety of contaminants, and any edible produce that has been exposed to these waters should be considered adulterated and unfit for human consumption," MDA Dairy and Food Inspection Division Director Heidi Kassenborg said in a news release. "We work with producers and businesses in the most heavily affected areas to assess damage, but on a broader level we must rely on individual farmers to assess whether their products are adulterated. Farmers are ultimately responsible for the condition of the crops they market, and as always, the top priority must be to ensure the integrity of the food supply."
The risk of contamination is generally considered highest for food crops that were submerged in water overflowing from rivers or streams.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration website offers guidance about flood-impacted food and feed at www.fda.gov.
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