Water to be collected and distributed only from licensed sources: Food Safety Commissioner

Commissioner of Food Safety Biju Prabhakar has issued a directive that henceforth, drinking water should be supplied in the State only in tanker lorries that have a Food Business Operator (FBO) licence under the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration) Regulations, 2011.

He has also directed that all drinking water supply sources, other than the Kerala Water Authority, should possess an FBO licence, and water should be collected and distributed in the State only from such licensed sources. These sources should have certificates proving the safety and quality of water.

Water quality should be tested every six months at government laboratories or National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories-accredited labs.

These directives have been issued as part of stricter implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006, across the State.

Mr. Prabhakar said it had come to the notice of the food safety wing under the Health Department that water of suspect quality was being distributed in tanker lorries and other vehicles in the State. This posed a serious risk of food poisoning and transmission of deadly water-borne diseases.

Both drinking water suppliers and consumers would have to follow stringently the new norms, Mr. Prabhakar said.

Clear signages

All tanker lorries and other vehicles supplying drinking water should carry a clear signage saying ‘Drinking water.’ If the water being transported is to be used for other purposes, the signage should say ‘Not for drinking purpose.’ Water being carried without a clear signage would be considered as drinking water and action would be taken by food safety officials.

The tanker lorries and other vehicles transporting water should display the FBO licence.

The inside of the tankers carrying water should have been coated with some certified coating material to prevent water contamination. Distributing drinking water in tanker lorries or storage tanks that do not meet this condition is illegal and punishable.

The Food Safety Commissioner has directed that all tanker lorries and vehicles carrying storage tanks should at all times have the FSSA licence, lab report on water quality, details about the tank’s capacity, and certificate regarding the coating material used inside the tank. Vehicles distributing water that do not carry these documents would be seized by officials and prosecution procedures initiated against the owner.

For consumers

Consumers who purchase drinking water should purchase water only from those distributors with valid FSSA licence.

Hotels, hospitals, apartments and others who purchase water should necessarily keep a register containing the details of the supplier. The register should also note details such as source of water, copies of lab reports on water, details of the quantity of water purchased, details of the licence of the distributor, and so on. Non-compliance to these regulations would invite legal action under the FSSA.

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