Revisions offer alternative approaches for safe hand and dish washing that require less bottled and boiled water.
Austin’s unprecedented, prolonged boil water alert has placed significant burdens on local food establishments and the dining public. In response, Austin Public Health staff has worked diligently with its restaurant partners to identify alternative approaches to hand washing and dish washing practices that are equally safe, but that are more time efficient, and require less bottled and boiled water. 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.
The new procedures are as follows:
Ware-Washing (washing dishes, utensils, and equipment):
Manual ware-washing and sanitizing of utensils and equipment using only approved sources of water.
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 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.
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.
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.