Guidelines for Food Establishments During a Boil Water Order
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Guidelines
During a boil water order, water may serve as a source of contamination for food, food equipment, utensils, and hands. Therefore the following is guidance for food establishments to follow when a boil water order is issued.
- Voluntarily cease operations until the boil water order is lifted
- Obtain an alternate supply of potable water and/or ice and provide satisfactory methods for handwashing, food preparation, and equipment cleaning and sanitation.
Note: water for drinking or cooking must be vigorously boiled for three (3) minutes prior to use or the establishment must use bottled water from a commercially approved source or other source approved by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). Ice must also be from an approved source. Discard ice that may have been made from or exposed to contaminated water.
(Food handlers and/or public) Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds under running water with soap, followed by drying with paper towels or an approved air-drying device and subsequent application of a hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizers are not a substitute for proper handwashing.
Ice machines that are directly connected to the water system must not be used. Shut the machine down and leave the unit off until the water supply is declared acceptable for use. Discard ice that may have been made from or exposed to contaminated water. Once the boil order is lifted run 3 batches of ice through the unit, discard that ice, clean and sanitize the ice bin, and start using the fourth batch of ice.
- Use prewashed, pre-packaged produce
- Use produce washed prior to the boil water order
- Use frozen/canned produce
- Wash fresh products with potable water from an alternate approved source
Preparation and cooking requiring water, including and reconstitution of liquid concentrates and dried foods
- Use only food that was prepared prior to the boil water order
- Discontinue the sale of prepared foods requiring water
- Obtain prepared foods from an alternate source (i.e. local deli or caterer)
- Use potable water from an alternate approved source
Carbonated and other beverages
- Substitute with bottled or canned beverages and turn off water lines to beverage dispensers. Such dispensers shall be completely flushed and sanitized before being returned to service after the boil water order has been lifted.
- Use potable water from an alternate approved source.
- Discontinue preparing and serving iced tea, lemonade, or other drinks prepared with affected water
- Coffee machines that are directly connected to the water system can be used if the water reaches a boiling temperature (212℉) for one (1) minute. If you are not sure how hot the water gets, then bottled water from an alternate, approved source or previously boiled water must be used.
Utensils and food contact equipment
- A properly operated manual dishwashing arrangement should be satisfactory for sanitizing utensils so long as the normal washing, rinsing, and sanitizing steps are followed and provided that the concentration of sanitizer (chlorine, iodine, quaternary ammonia) is at the proper level
- A properly operating and maintained mechanical temperature or chemical dishwashing machine should also be satisfactory for sanitizing utensils
- Use only single-service tableware and kitchenware
- Use potable water from an alternative approved source
- Store food dispensing utensils in the food products
Garbage grinders – no change
Faucets – render faucets, accessible to the public, inoperative or posting a sign stating “unsafe for drinking”
After the boil water order is lifted
- Flush the building water lines and clean faucet screens, water line strainers or mechanical dishwashing machines, etc.
- Purge all water lines connected to fixtures and appliances, such as ice machines, beverage makers, produce and seafood misting devices, hot water heaters, etc.
- Clean and sanitize all fixtures, sinks, and equipment connected to waterlines.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedures for:
- disinfecting water softeners, prior to putting them back into service;
- replacing filters or media in small filters on ice machines, water treatment systems, and beverage vending machines; and replacing carbon filters or carbon media in filters.
In cases where no water under pressure is available, a food establishment that prepares and serves food other than prepackaged food items must cease operations until water is restored or an alternative water supply is established that is acceptable to DNR or DHSS.
Remember that this is your responsibility. Health department staff members or our authorized representatives will be conducting checks of establishments to ensure compliance with food code regulations. You may contact the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention toll-free at 1-866-628-9891 or the Macon County Health Department at 660-395-4711.