Boil Order Procedures for Food Establishments 

Fact Sheet Table of Contents                         

Food facilities are expected to either:                                                  

  • Cease operations until the boil order has been lifted or
  • Obtain an alternate supply of potable water and/or ice, plus implement satisfactory methods for hand washing, food preparation, equipment cleaning and sanitation.

When reviewing alternative methods for hand washing, food preparation, equipment cleaning and sanitation look for the following:

  • Hand Washing (Food handlers and /or public)
    • Use of potable water from an alternate approved source. In some instances it may be appropriate to use hand sanitizer as the final step in the hand washing process. Consult with your area Sanitarian regarding available options.
    • Use of dispensed soap and single use paper towels. Wash for a minimum of 20 seconds.
    • Use of an approved hand sanitizer after drying hands.
    • Use of disposable gloves after proper hand washing before directly handling food.
  • Food Preparation:
    • Produce
      • Use pre-washed commercially packaged produce.
      • Use produce washed prior to boil order.
      • Use frozen/canned produce.
      • Wash fresh produce with potable water from an alternate approved source.
    • Preparation and cooking requiring water, which includes the reconstitution of liquid concentrates and dried foods
      • Use only food that was prepared prior to the boil order.
      • Discontinue sale of prepared foods requiring water.
      • Obtain prepared foods from alternate sources.
      • Use potable water from an alternate approved source.
    • Carbonated and other dispensed beverages
      • Substitute with bottled or canned beverages and turn off water lines to beverage dispensers and ice machines. Such dispensers shall be completely flushed and sanitized before being returned to service after boil order has been lifted.
      • Use potable water and ice from an alternate approved source.
    • Utensils and food contact equipment
      • Use only single service tableware and kitchenware
      • Use potable water from an alternative approved source. In some cases it may be acceptable to use the contaminated supply provided everything is properly sanitized using chlorine bleach as a sanitizer. Consult with your Office Senior Sanitarian regarding available options.
      • Use waterless cleaning or non potable water for floors and other non food contact surfaces
      • Store food dispensing utensils in the food products
  • After the Boil Order is Lifted
    • Flush the building water lines and clean faucets screens, water lines strainers on mechanical dishwashing machines
    • Purge all water using fixtures and appliances, such as ice machines, beverage makers, hot water heaters, etc. Clean and sanitized all fixtures, sinks and equipment connected to waterlines.