Food safety and quality

Fit-for-purpose water for the safety of fishery and dairy products


Water is a diminishing resource globally and not all primary producers and processors of food have access to adequate supplies of safe water. Water often comes into direct contact with food as it is used for various purposes throughout the food chain.  

It is not always possible for potable water to be used at all stages of food production and processing, nor is it necessary. However, it must be fit-for-purpose and not compromise the safety of the products we consume. 

In the summer of 2021, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) convened a meeting with two expert groups to discuss simultaneously the issues related to water sourcing, use and reuse in the production of fishery and dairy products. 

The expert committees recognized the various sources, uses and reuses of water in the fishery (from on the fishing vessel or freshwater production site to processing facility) and dairy (from on-farm milking to manufacturing) food chains.

Through applying the principles of risk assessment, the experts developed guidelines and recommendations for the safe sourcing, use and reuse of water in these value chains. This expert meeting, held to support the ongoing work of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) on water quality and safety in food production, was chaired by Leon Gorris and Rob de Jonge served as rapporteur.

The details of key discussions and outcomes have been captured in the following published summary reports: fishery and dairy

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