In an effort to ensure food safety during challenging weather, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a new resource webpage for human and animal food producers affected by flooding and severe weather. The page will replace individual announcements issued by the agency ahead of severe weather incidents.
The webpage will help food producers identify state and federal resources that are available to those who may be harvesting, mixing, storing, or distributing grains and other foods after experiencing a severe weather incident. Resources that are available on the webpage include, but are not limited to:
- State contact information for FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) Emergency Response Coordinators
- Information and compliance policy guides about reconditioning requests, which allow for crops that have been deemed unsuitable for human consumption to be salvaged for animal food
- Answers to questions about crops harvested from flooded fields that are intended for animal food
- Guidance on evaluating the safety of flood-affected crops
- Information on the safety of food and animal crops affected by hurricanes, flooding, and power outages
- Compliance policy guides on action levels and advisory levels for various food contaminants, such as aflatoxins and pesticide residues.
FDA reminds producers that crops harvested from flooded fields are often unacceptable for human consumption because of contamination. Floodwaters can carry sewage, pathogens, pesticides, chemicals, and other hazardous substances. Additionally, flood-impacted crops are also at risk for mold growth, which can cause illness and death due to possible mycotoxin production.
FDA encourages growers to work with state regulators and local FDA offices to assess their unique situations. FDA also advises producers that each state’s Department of Agriculture may have state-specific requirements regarding any attempt to clean, process, test, and sell or use crops in animal food.