The HACCP system is highly applicable to bottling of natural waters. Quality assurance and control may be considered to have three main components:
*Suitability of the source and its protection
*Prevention of contamination at point of abstraction
*Post abstraction processes
The susceptibility of water to change, chemically, microbiologically or organoleptically, brings challenge to the bottling process. The inherent properties of water, the raw and packaging materials available and the equipment used all have profound implications for the safety and quality of the finished product that reaches the consumer.
It is necessary to maintain knowledge of the catchment area and to evaluate the consequences of changes in agriculture or industrial practices. Prevention of contamination of the underground water by environmental pollution such as faecal material is very important, particularly for waters which do not receive purification and bactericidal treatments.
Control at point of abstraction involves ensuring that water is not contaminated by pumps, the fabric of the well, etc and that the well or spring is itself protected. These may represent sources of contamination if poorly maintained or where flow rates are low or holding times long.
Quality assurance and control of bottling natural water