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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dealing with Flooded Vegetable Fields

Just noticed this in one of my google alert messages (titles linked to full articles):

Local Food
Food Crop Safety After Irene's Floodwaters by Amy Halloran | Sep 01, 2011 on Food Safety News website.

What really caught my eye was this reference to our former Rutgers colleague:
Steve Reiners, associate professor at Cornell University, put together "Dealing with Flooded Vegetable Fields," which deals with plant survival under water and flooding and soil fertility, as well as flooding and food safety.

"There are two types of flooding," wrote Reiners. "The first is more typical and occurs after a heavy downpour when fields become saturated and water pools on the soil surface.  This type of flooding can reduce yields and even kill plants but usually will not result in contamination of produce with human pathogens." 
The second type of flooding, from rising creeks and rising rivers rather than a deluge of rainwater, is affecting many farmers in the aftermath of Irene, although some farms might be dealing with both types of storm water.

"Unless you are absolutely sure that flooding is not from streams and surface water, do not use fruits and vegetables that were at or near harvest at the time of flooding," he writes.
Can't emphasize that last comment enough! Have seen several fields at near harvest stage that were under standing or running water since Sunday's rains ended. They're likely not safe for consumption!
Rick VanVranken