Officials Warn of Potential Food Contamination Risk After Hurricanes

Many crops were submerged in contaminated flood water for days

The EPA and the FDA are urging land owners to clean and sanitize their crops due to high contamination risks post-hurricane.

Survivors of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma returning to their farms and gardens should be aware of the risk they are facing regarding potential bacterial contamination of crops.

Stan Meiburg, the former deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is warning that the risks vary from area to area, reports CNBC.

"The main concerns there have been to make sure that you avoid contamination, and particularly, avoid contact [with] ... food that has been in contact with flood waters," Meiburg told the news outlet.

The Food and Drug Administration released a press announcement last week that supported Meiburg’s warning. The storms have caused many crops to be submerged in flood water, exposing them to bacteria.

"Some of the major concerns for crop safety are heavy metals, chemical, bacterial, and mold contamination,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb explained in the announcment. “In many cases, it is challenging to determine what contaminants are in crops that were submerged by floodwaters.”

Meriburg told CNBC that before flood-damaged plants can be used for food they must be properly cleaned and sanitized and there must be an sufficient supply of clean water.


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