Anyone who uses water from a private supply in food production, including primary producers, has an “on-going responsibility” to check that it is fit for purpose, according to a new guidance document which the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has opened for consultation.
FSA is seeking views and opinions on the document from enforcement authorities and food business operators (FBOs), giving all interested parties until February 18, 2015, to respond. After that, an agreed document will be introduced to run, without any further planned review, until August 2019.
The guidance note relates to the implementation of European Commission regulation No 852/2004, which requires that FBOs rearing, harvesting or hunting animals or producing primary products of animal origin, take “adequate measures” to use potable, or clean water, whenever necessary to prevent contamination.
Key guidance comments include:
- As environmental factors can change rapidly, they (FBOs) must ensure that they have systems in place to monitor for any changes and are able to take action to remedy any problems or switch to an alternative source should the need arise.
- It should be noted that in the case of primary production activities where biosecurity is a consideration, best practice advises the use of potable water from the public supply, or from another source, that has been subject to the appropriate treatment and tests for bacteriological quality and gives satisfactory results.
- It is necessary to ensure food safety throughout the food chain, which starts with primary production. Therefore, if the FBO can demonstrate that the water used during primary production will not have a detrimental effect on the safety of the food product, this would indicate that the water can be considered clean and is acceptable to use.