Revised Water Use Procedures for Food Businesses

Austin Public Health released new boil-water info, effective today

In light of the most recent boil-water notice developments, Austin Public Health just released new procedures for food businesses. The new guidelines aim to reduce or alleviate some of the burdens placed on restaurants and their staff during this ongoing situation.

Public safety remains paramount, but saving time and energy, and reducing the number of plastic bottles, is a win for everyone. The statement assures residents that, “These alternatives procedures are endorsed by the Austin Health Authority and are fully consistent with best practices advised by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. They also capitalize on technological advancements in dishwashing and sanitizing technology.”

Food businesses, like this HEB deli counter, have received new guidance from the Austin health department.

The new procedures are as follows:

Ware-Washing (washing dishes, utensils, and equipment):

Preferred Method

Manual ware-washing and sanitizing of utensils and equipment using only approved sources of water.

Acceptable Method

Commercial dishwashers providing a hot water rinse (165°F - 180°F) or a chemical sanitizing cycle may be used. Machines must be properly maintained and operated as required by Texas Food Establishment Rules. Air-dry all wares after sanitizing.

Hand-washing:

Preferred Method

Hand-washing using only approved sources of water that is dispensed using a container with a spigot, followed by the donning of single use (disposable) gloves. No bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods is allowed.

Acceptable Method

All food handlers handling or preparing foods are required to wash hands (using existing water sources) as required by the Texas Food Establishment Rules, then apply an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, followed by the donning of single use (disposable) gloves. No bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods is allowed.

Food Preparation:

Required Method

All water that is intended for consumption, including food preparation, cooking, beverages, and ice, must be from approved sources of water. Establishments must cease bagging ice from unapproved water sources.

Approved Sources of Water:

1. Commercially bottled water.

2. Water that has been heated to a rolling boil for three minutes.

These water use procedures for food enterprises are effective immediately and until further notice.

After Boiled Water Notice has been lifted, flush lines before using water.

For more information, visit austintexas.gov/boilh2o

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