This advice is to be followed by establishments serving food or drink to the public when your water supplier has issued a boil water alert. Food manufacturers, retailers, and other commercial establishments that serve food or water to the public are reminded of their obligations to produce safe food during and following boil water alerts.

Only use water that has been boiled or treated using appropriate filtration and disinfection:

  • in food or drinks, including soft drinks produced from post mix dispensers connected to the water supply
  • to prepare ice particularly if the ice is to be sold, used in drinks, used as an ingredient in foods, or used in contact with foods, especially foods such as cooked prawns, which may be eaten without further cooking
  • for washing foods that will be eaten without further cooking, such as salad vegetables or opened oysters
  • for rinsing food equipment, such as eating and drinking utensils, or beer lines. Beer lines should be flushed through with beer after cleaning and before use.

Espresso coffee machines heat water to a temperature hot enough to deliver a safe product. Bottled soft drinks are not affected as manufacturers routinely treat their water supplies before use.

Use single service/use articles and/or clean and sanitise equipment/utensils/tableware using the drinking water alternatives listed above. Follow the established procedures to wash, rinse, and sanitise. Equipment/utensils/tableware may be disinfected using dishwashing machines that have a dry cycle or a final rinse that exceeds 45°C for 20 minutes or 50°C for 5 minutes or 72°C for 1 minute.

Discontinue operations when inventories of clean equipment/utensils/tableware are exhausted.

Water filters

Filters should not be relied upon during a boil water alert to provide safe water unless the contaminant is known. If a filter is used it should be certified against an appropriate standard (such as AS/NZS 4348:1995 and/or NSF/ANSI 42 and 53). An absolute 1 micron (or smaller) filter is necessary to remove Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Units that incorporate boiling, distillation or reverse osmosis processes are also satisfactory. An additional disinfection unit may be necessary to inactivate bacteria and viruses.

Precautions during a Boil Water Alert

Current as at: Tuesday 7 June 2022
Contact page owner: Environmental Health