Food and drinks industry must heed best practice on water use, says report
28 Jun 2021
Poorly managed water systems and processes are risking the food and drinks industry’s reputation and finances, warns a hard-hitting new report by water pumps leader Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG).
The document, Process water and wastewater treatment in the food industry, highlights the reputational and monetary implications of the mismanagement of water and wastewater systems.
Its authors point out that the food and beverage industry uses vast volumes of water, with treatment of process water and wastewater essential to every production plant. Complex and costly processes, with each site required to meet specific local health and safety and environmental discharge regulations.
“There are significant reputational and financial consequences of putting people, products or the environment at risk through poorly managed systems and processes. Yet there are practical steps companies can take to tighten their procedures and make their processes more efficient,” said (WMFTG) industrial sales and business development manager Dale Kavanagh.”
Process water alone, which is used for food washing and preparation, pasteurisation, cleaning of equipment, steaming and sterilisation, or as an additive or stabiliser, accounts for the largest water use. Within the food sector it accounts for nearly one third, at around 31 per cent.
Wastewater must also undergo high levels of treatment that are strictly regulated, before it can be discharged or reused.
In addition, legally binding environmental regulations across much of the world, such as the European Water Framework Directive, the US Clean Water Act and the Australian National Water Initiative protect natural water from pollution.
These demand treated effluent must meet high quality standards before being released into the environment. Food and beverage companies in breach of water quality requirements risk prosecutions and large fines and even having their discharge permits revoked.
“Water and wastewater treatment are critical to safety and efficiency in food and beverage processing plants and must be maintained to a high standard,” said Kavanagh.
“Selecting equipment that is reliable, effective and easy to operate and maintain is especially important in a hazard-critical area like chemical dosing, where the risk of human error has to be minimised.”