Health Department Issues Advisory for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Due to Recent Flooding

For Immediate Release: May 26, 2006
Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health issued an advisory today for anyone growing fruits and vegetables that may have come into contact with flood waters during the heavy rains in May.

The flood water could have been contaminated and people are urged to discard above ground fruits or vegetables that have matured and cannot be washed and cooked prior to consumption. The items of primary concern are lettuce, herbs and strawberries, which have already developed fruit. Root crops are not a concern as long as they are thoroughly washed and cooked.

“People should be aware of the potential contamination and should take the appropriate precautionary measures,” said Larry Crist, director of the Health Protection Division for the Vermont Department of Health. “In particular, with leafy crops it is difficult to remove all of the contamination with just plain rinsing.”

Widespread floods in Vermont in 1998 and 2002 triggered advisories to not eat any food that may have come into contact with floodwater. This year’s heavy rains may have impacted certain crops, such as lettuce, that were in the middle of their growing season and need to be thrown away.

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