The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning residents in hurricane-flooded areas not to eat any fruits or vegetables touched by contaminated waters.
Even produce like citrus or melons with thick rinds can't be made safe by cleaning, food safety experts say.
Flood waters are teeming with pathogens and parasites such as E. Coli, Salmonella, typhoid and cholera.
Best practice: destroy any food that comes in contact with flood water unless it's contained in a waterproof package.
According to The Associated Press, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association estimates 50 percent to 70 percent of all crops were destroyed in South Florida.
Agriculture organization Commodity Weather Group predicts statewide orange and sugar cane crop loss of about 10 percent, with grapefruit loss at 20 percent to 30 percent.
- Floodwater Pathogens Can't Be Washed Off Of Fresh Produce (Food Safety News)
- Irma Devastates Florida Orange Crop, Harms Other Produce (Associated Press)