Issued: June 2019
Food business operators who are unable to make suitable alternative arrangements to provide a supply of fresh water following the water main incident in the Sunbury area are advised to consider closing the premises until the supply returns to normal.
It is an offence to operate a food business without water as food business staff will be unable to wash their hands and clean and disinfect food, utensils and equipment, which may result in the contamination of food, compromising food safety. If you are able to obtain an adequate supply of fresh, bottled water for hand washing or preparation, can heat it adequately and safely and use pre-prepared food items, disposable cups, plates and cutlery you may be able to continue to offer a limited service.
However, businesses selling wrapped low-risk and fully wrapped foods, which have been prepared off-site in a facility which does have running water, may stay open and continue to sell food as normal.
Council officers will visit food premises if supply disruption continues, to ensure that suitable arrangements are in place, or affected businesses remain closed. Should a food business continue to operate without an adequate water supply and the Environmental Health Department believes there is a significant risk to health, then the use of emergency closure powers will be considered, to resolve the situation.
Toilets should also be closed to customers due to the hygiene implications.
Workplaces with no running water should also consider the welfare implications for staff if there are no drinking water and toilet facilities, and may need to close.
Once the water supply has been reinstated, current advice is for the water to be allowed to flush through for 30 minutes before using it.