Kiwis warned not to eat homegrown veggies if garden has flooded

Kiwis with vegetable gardens at home are being warned not to eat any of their veggies if they've had flooding on their property. 

The upper North Island has been battered by heavy rain, with many places experiencing flooding, which has damaged properties and businesses. 

The flooding in Auckland also saw fields with pumpkins, garlic, onions and other crops in Pukekohe wiped out with piles of onions washed onto the roads.

Representative from United Fresh, the organisation that helps advise the industry on food safety, Anne-Marie Arts told AM on Wednesday some vegetables will be significantly affected because of the flooding. 

"The most significant will be the green leafy vegetables, so lettuces and suchlike which have the shorter crop rotations and will be very significantly affected, both by quality because they've been hammered by so much rain and wind," Arts told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green.

"Also if there's been flooding, then the crop will have to be basically bypassed." 

Arts urged any Kiwis who have a vegetable garden on their property which has flooded over recent days to not eat the produce they've grown.

"That would include also all the many backyards and veggie gardens that have been wiped out in the Auckland region," she said.

"[You] need to treat flooded home veggie gardens in exactly the same way as growers will be, which is do not eat that product."

United Fresh representative Anne-Marie Arts.
United Fresh representative Anne-Marie Arts. Photo credit: AM

Arts said it's been a difficult situation for growers as crops that have been in flood water might have to be rejected for safety reasons.

"If there's been flood water, we don't know what is in that flood water, could be sewage in it, which will then be automatically rejected," she said. 

"If there is a thought that it could be okay, it may be harvested or it will be tested for microbial testing and quarantined until those test results come back. But it is a very, very difficult situation for growers."

Watch the full interview with Anne-Marie Arts above.