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FDA Guidance for Use of Water by Food Manufacturers in Areas Affected by a Boil-Water Advisory

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Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition - Food and Drug Administration

January 3, 2011


With cold weather resulting in an increase in water main breaks around the nation, FDA would like to call attention to the agency’s guidance on the use of water by food manufacturers in areas subject to a boil-water advisory.

Boil-water advisories are public announcements by local water authorities advising consumers to boil tap water used for drinking or other uses in order to protect the public from waterborne infectious agents that could be or are known to be present in local tap water. Such advisories are issued for a variety of reasons, including broken water mains and flooding that adversely impacts water treatment facilities. FDA has issued guidance for food manufacturers in areas subject to a boil-water advisory.

In essence, the guidance states that water subject to a boil-water advisory should not be used in the manufacture or processing of food until the water again meets the applicable federal and state drinking water quality standards. In addition, any food produced with water subject to the advisory should be evaluated. The guidance provides recommendations to assist food manufacturers in evaluating such food. The recommendations cover the use of the water in heated foods; in ice, bottled water or ready-to-eat foods; and for cleaning or hand washing.