I've had a few inquiries so here is the advice I've been giving:

Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension

Many fields and gardens across Vermont were exposed to flood waters in 
2011. The vast majority of these can be planted in the normal fashion 
this year. The exceptions would be fields that have obvious signs of 
contamination, such as unusual soil odors, visual evidence of fuel 
/oils, or hazardous debris. Growers with fields that were flooded last 
year are urged to submit a soil sample for testing by the UVM to 
determine if nutrient levels have been affected and if heavy metals have 
been deposited. See: or 
call 802-656-3030, the cost is $24.

To date, testing of soil from over 150 flooded fields in Vermont has 
revealed no sign of heavy metal contamination. If soils have signs that 
fuel may be present or if fuel tanks were flooded or deposited nearby, a 
soil sample can be tested for Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons by Endyne 
Labs in Williston; cost is $75. Contact them for information: or (802) 879-4333. (Limited testing for 
hydrocarbons in several different watersheds did not find cause for 

Testing for microbial contamination is not practical due to the number 
of possible pathogens and variability in their population across a 
field. However, crops that are being planted this spring on soils that 
flooded last year should be fine for human consumption. After being 
exposed to solar radiation, cold temperatures in winter, and other 
factors that limit their survival in soil, there is little risk of 
microbial pathogens from last year’s flooding. For example, the commonly 
accepted waiting period to reduce food safety risks in food crops after 
application of raw manure is 120 days. Of course, common sense washing 
routines should be followed before selling or eating produce.

Finally, here are the talking points I am using when the media asks me 
about the situation:
1. there is no evidence that food or soil was contaminated after 
flooding last year and to assure food safety growers took the precaution 
of destroying all crops that were touched by flood water.
2. This year any concerns about the effect of past flooding are greatly 
reduced due to the natural breakdown of microbes and other possible 
residues during the months that have passed.
3. Vermont's environment remains among the most pristine of any food 
producing area in the world, and our farmers are well aware of sanitary 
production practices; thus the food we produce is exceptionally safe.