Recovery from flood – horticulture crops

What should I do about horticulture crops inundated by flood waters?

Produce that has been in contact with floodwaters is likely to be contaminated and should not be harvested or distributed in the food supply chain.

If you are unsure whether the produce is impacted, we advise targeted testing (chemical and microbiological) of produce to demonstrate safety.

All food producers are required to ensure their produce is safe and suitable for human consumption.

Floodwater is likely to be contaminated with microbial and other contaminants including high levels of silt, pathogens from decomposing animals, sewage or manure, agvet chemicals and/or petroleum.

Some produce could be affected by pooled water (excess water due to rain falling on the property) and will not pose the same risk to public health as those exposed to flood water - for businesses where the excess water source is not clear, a precautionary approach is advised.

Flooded growing sites may have been exposed to contaminated floodwaters that will cause produce to be contaminated with pathogens that are harmful to human health, such as E. coli and Salmonella.

Managing horticulture crops after flooding - Useful resources

Refer to the Horticultural Industry Network website Recovering from Extreme Events for more information about managing crops after flooding.

Additional resources for flood-impacted growers are available at the Food Authority Fresh Produce Safety Centre.

Horticulture producers can also contact their industry association for further advice and support.

Page last updated: 27 Dec 2023