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Guidelines for Food Premises During a Boil Water Advisory

Food services establishments including American Plan tourist camps and supermarkets can continue to operate during a boil water advisory under the following conditions and requirements: 

Water for drinking
Immediately post signs at all taps advising users not to drink the tap water because of the boil water advisory. 
Food preparation
·         Food and beverages made with untreated or potentially contaminated water must be discarded and containers washed and sanitized before re-use.
·         Water used for any product that is consumed must be commercially bottled water or treated by bringing it to a rolling boil for at least one (1) minute and then stored in clean, covered containers until used. This includes water used to:
  • Rinse or wash fruit, vegetables or other uncooked foods.
  • As an ingredient in any food product that will be “ready to eat” without cooking, e.g. drink mixes, puddings, jellos, etc.
  •  Provide a drink to a customer.
·         Food that is boiled in water in the cooking process can be prepared with tap water provided the water is brought to a rolling boil for a minimum of one (1) minute during the cooking process. 
Beverage machines
Machines used to dispense cold beverages MUST NOT be used during a boil water advisory (e.g. slush machines, carbonated beverage machines, iced cappuccino machines).  The lines connected directly to the tap water for mixing must be disconnected during the advisory and then cleaned and sanitized according to manufacturer's instructions when the advisory is rescinded and before resuming use. Canned or bottled beverages must be used exclusively.

Coffee brewers and hot tea towers can operate if water temperatures are maintained between 90.5C - 121C (195F - 250F). These high temperatures are capable of destroying microorganisms and should be verified daily using a probe thermometer.  Hot cappuccino and hot chocolate machines can be used if the temperatures meet or exceed these levels.

Ice and Misters
Supermarkets and produce markets must turn off and disconnect spray hoses used to spray their fruits and vegetables for the duration of the advisory and the lines kept physically separated from the fresh produce as they are difficult to clean. Any produce sprayed with potentially contaminated water must be removed from display and washed thoroughly with potable water before sale. When the advisory is rescinded the lines must be cleaned and sanitized according to manufacturer's instructions before resuming use.

Ice machines must be emptied and not used for duration of the boil water advisory and water lines connected to the tap water must be disconnected.  Before ice making resumes the lines and cleaned and sanitized. For specific instructions about flushing, cleaning and sanitizing the ice-manufacturing equipment consult your instruction manual(s) or the company that constructed or installed the machinery.
Ice must be made from commercially bottled water or tap water that has been boiled for at least 1 minute or purchased from a commercial ice supply distributer not affected by the boil water advisory.

Cleaning and Sanitizing
Commercial dishwashers that use hot water at 60C (or 140F) with a hot water sanitizing rinse of 82C (or 180F) for 10 seconds would be considered satisfactory.  Where parasitic contamination is suspected, "low" temperature dishwashers using chemical sanitizers may not be effective.  Beverage glass washers that use a cold water rinse must not be used.
Dishes may be hand washed by using a three-compartment sink (for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing respectively), provided that they are rinsed in the second sink in water at a temperature not lower than 43C (109.5F) and sanitized in the third sink by immersing dishes in a chlorine solution of 100 parts per million of available chlorine.  Other methods of sanitizing can be used as described in the Ontario Food Premises Regulation. Single-use, disposable dishware and utensils may also be used.
Countertops, chopping boards and large utensils that cannot be washed in dishwashers or sinks should be washed with soap and hot water first, then sanitized with a strong bleach solution.  Mix approximately 30ml (6tsp) of liquid household bleach into 4.5L (one gallon) of water to make a solution of approximately 200 parts per million of available chlorine. Do not reuse or store this solution but make it fresh daily.

Hand washing
Frequent, thorough hand washing must be emphasized to all staff. Signs advising of the appropriate hand washing technique should be posted at all sinks. 

Alcohol-based hand disinfectants containing more than 60% alcohol may be used after washing hand with soap or in situations where water is not available.
Any employee reporting that they are suffering from a diarrhea illness must be excluded from work and can be tested by their family doctor. They are not to return to work until symptoms have subsided for at least 24 hours.
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