Flooding Update | Shortage of Fresh Vegetables

Due to the recent flooding, we are beginning to face a shortage of fresh vegetables as floodwaters throughout the upper North Island hugely impact food safety.

United Fresh Food Safety Representative Anne-Marie Arts said excess rainfall would affect many crops’ quality and shelf life.

“Flooding exposes fresh produce to microbial risk. If floodwaters come in contact with the edible part of the crop, it is considered to be contaminated and will not be harvested,” she said.

“After the flooding subsides, growers will not harvest the affected crops and will have special protocols for disposing of the affected plant matter. Replanting the land will not occur for some time until it is dry and considered suitable. These delays might result in supply gaps of some varieties,” said Arts.

The same precautions also apply to people who have home gardens.

“Whether it’s a commercial farm or a home vegetable garden, floodwaters present a real risk to the health of your whānau,” said Arts.

“Floodwaters can flush through sewer systems and across rural land, collecting human and animal waste. The waters may contain pathogens that can make you seriously ill,” she said.

“We’re advising anyone with a home garden that may have had floodwater enter to throw away affected plants immediately,” she added.

The severe weather event comes from a summer of rainy conditions, which have already impacted the supply and price of fresh vegetables nationwide.