Local food producers and retailers should improve their water usage practices to protect food safety, a hygiene and sanitation company warned.
"The deteriorating quality of South Africa's raw water supplies, coupled with the growing threat of waterborne diseases, could have a devastating effect on food safety if local producers and retailers do not introduce measures to safeguard the quality of their water and improve usage practices," said a statement from Gareth Lloyd-Jones, managing director of Ecowize.
They have a legal obligation to manage risks associated with food production and so should be focusing on the quality of the water they use during processing and preparation, and implement additional monitoring measures.
"If this problem persists, producers may need to invest in purification measures and processes in order to minimise the risks to food safety caused by waterborne diseases."
Re-use water to minimise impact
They can establish internal methods around efficient water usage, as well as invest in technology that will enable less water usage in production.
Industrial water users should try where possible to re-use water or harvest water from other sources like rain and boreholes, and minimise the environmental impact of their water use.
Microbial contamination in water can result in pathogenic disease in crops and livestock destined for a processing plant; and chemical contamination can also damage equipment or be poisonous for crops and livestock.
Restaurants and households were also susceptible to water-related food safety problems, he said. - (Sapa, December 2010)