Determine Safety Before Using Fruits and Vegetables from Flooded Gardens

AMES, Iowa — Iowa fruit and vegetable growers have questions about the safety of produce harvested from gardens and fields that have been flooded. In responding to numerous questions the past two months, the On-Farm Food Safety team with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach frequently references two extension publications.

Teresa Wiemerslage, a team member, said the publications are useful in determining the risk level for contamination from biological and chemical hazards. Garden Produce in Floods (SP 0328) is an ISU Extension publication available from the Extension Online Store at and Safely Using Produce from Flooded Gardens is a University of Wisconsin Extension publication available at

“If you are selling product to customers, you have a responsibility to minimize its risk to others,” said Wiemerslage in a Wiemerslage notes in a June 24 post to the the Iowa GAP Center blog, “Never sell produce from a flood-damaged garden at a farm market or farm stand until you are sure that all contamination has been removed from the garden, usually a period of at least one month after the last incidence of flooding.”