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How new Codex guidelines will help food business operators address hazards in water


Earlier this month, the 46th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission agreed to adopt key new guidelines on the safe use and re-use of water in food production and processing.

These guidelines provide a framework of general principles and examples for applying a risk-based approach to determine if the water to be sourced, used, and re-used by food business operators involved in food production and processing is fit for purpose from a microbiological safety perspective.

“Access to potable water is not always an option when it comes to food production and processing so it is important to have an approach that will allow the safe use of water from different sources at the various steps in the food chain” said Sarah Cahill, Senior Food Standards Officer, Codex Secretariat. “These Guidelines are an important tool that will help in the application of a risk-based approach to water use in the food sector, focusing on a fit for purpose approach and recognizing that, for many, water is a scarce resource”.

The work was co-led by Honduras, where the guidelines are already being applied and where authorities anticipate an increasing need for efficient use of water in the production of food.

“We are very proud of these guidelines and happy to have received the support of Codex Members and Observers during their development”, said Mirian Bueno, Honduras, who was part of the working group that led the development of these guidelines, “We now need to work on their implementation to see how to better use them as they become the reference point for our government and industries”.

Read more about the guidelines and their role in food production and processing, in a new feature story published by FAO: Safe water saves water


Learn more

Watch a video about Honduras’ work on the Guidelines (In English) (En Español)

Read the report of the 46th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC46)

In the news: Codex work on water contributes to safer food


Photo credit © FAO/Fredrik Lerneryd