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Print version ISSN 0120-4157On-line version ISSN 2590-7379


SILVA, Elizabeth et al. Microbiological and chemical quality of water used in Colombian food industries. Biomédica [online]. 2010, vol.30, n.3, pp.421-431. ISSN 0120-4157.

Introduction. Food safety is a public health concern that is recognized worldwide. Food-borne diseases affect millions of people throughout the world, although mainly in developing countries. The current study was performed within the framework of an inter-administrative agreement in Colombia that considers decisions for improving the sanitary status of products from the agrofood industry in Colombia. Objective. Water used in Colombian food industries was assessed for its hygienic and sanitary qualities. Materials and methods. The descriptive cross sectional study included 66 industries located in eight geographic provinces across Colombia, including the Capital District of Bogotá. The analytical determinations included 13 physical-chemical parameters, three bacteriological parameters, organophosphate and carbamate levels and presence of 10 metals. Half of the industries were associated with production of dairy products and the other half with the meat-packing industry. Results. Using the the current standards for human drinking water, the risk index of the food industry water samples was high for 4.5% of these industries, moderate risk for 34.8%, low risk for 16.7% and for 43.9%, no risk. The parameters with the highest number of samples not in compliance with water health standards were microbiological (21.2%) and residual chlorine (28.8%). Conclusions. The results showed that the water used in most food industries can produce food spoilage and transmission of pathogen microorganisms. Importance is stressed for organizing a constant program of monitoring and control of water usage in food industries.

Keywords : Water quality; water microbiological characteristics; water physicochemical characteristics; food security; food industry; public health.

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