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NGFA flood options

(Posted on 14/05/19)

USA Midwestern rivers have overflowed again, causing flood damage across several states. Since March, floodwaters from the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers have caused billions of dollars of damage to farmland, homes and businesses. Rivers in many communities have been above flood stage for more than six weeks.

The US House of Congress voted on an updated emergency disaster-assistance funding bill on 10 May totaling $17.2 billion for recent disasters, including an additional $3 billion to address Midwest flooding.

Meanwhile, grain handlers have found themselves needing to make decisions about flood-damaged grain, what they can do to test for damage and how they can salvage it. The NGFA used U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) resources to answer some common questions below:

Q: What is the primary concern about flood-damaged grain?

A: Flood waters from storms often contain sewage, pathogenic organisms, pesticides, chemical wastes or other toxic substances, according to the FDA. Mold growth is another serious concern for flood-affected crops intended for animal feed, because some molds produce mycotoxins that are toxic to certain animals and people. People who eat food products from animals that ate the mold also may suffer adverse health effects.

Q: What can be done with grain that was exposed to flood water?

A: Generally, if the edible portion of a crop is exposed to contaminated flood waters, it is considered “adulterated” under the Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and should not enter the human food supply. Sometimes, crops that have been harvested and then subsequently deemed unsuitable for human use can be salvaged for use in animal food for some species. Before being used in animal food, however, crops exposed to flooding should, at a minimum, be tested for mold, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals contamination. Depending upon the test results, the crop may be acceptable for animal food use or it may be possible to salvage the crop through reconditioning – a broad term that covers certain types of processing.

Q: Does the FDA have specific policies for reconditioning water-damaged grain?

A:  FDA says it will work with producers and firms to consider requests to recondition an adulterated crop into animal food on a case-by-case basis. FDA’s compliance guide CPG 675.200 provides a step-by-step process for reconditioning requests.

Any requests for reconditioning should be directed to the following individuals in the relevant FDA field office.

Reconditioning requests for contamination events occurring in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa: Victoria Wagoner, 913-495-5150. Reconditioning requests for contamination events that occur in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota: Kristine Zuroski, 612-758-7120. Reconditioning requests for contamination events occurring in Illinois and Michigan: DCB Kelli Wilkinson, 313-393-8120. Reconditioning requests for contamination events occurring in Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky: Toni Williams, 513-679-2700 ext. 2160. Reconditioning requests for contamination events occurring in Arkansas: Casey Hamblin, 214-253-5222.

Q: Where can a country elevator or feed mill go to get additional information on dealing with damaged grain?

A: Note that State Departments of Agriculture may have state-specific requirements regarding any attempt to clean, process, test, and sell/use these crops in animal food.

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