South Africa is famous for its sunshine, but as per the Cape drought a relatively dry country, with an average annual rainfall of about 464mm (compared to a world average of about 860mm). South Africa is one of the 30 driest countries in the world. This means all south Africans need to save water. Food Consulting Services has put together a list of tips to help you save water in your kitchen and/or production facility without compromising on hygiene and food safety.

Water Saving Tips

  1. Use the automatic warewasher for as many crockery and small pot wash items as possible but still following effective crate-stacking techniques. Ensure effective scraping of all dirty items. Run a prewashing basin, which can be left to become rather dirty. Wash all items in the pre-washing  basin and then put them through the automagic warewasher. pots, pans and other heavily soiled items will need scrubbing with a suitable plastic scourer or brush. The automatic warewasher will ensure minimal use of water, but will ensure effective washing and sanitation. Recycled water could also be used for the prewashing / scrubbing step.
  2. For large pot wash items, collect dirty items and then wash as many together as possible to use as few pot wash sinks as possible. Try to run a very “low” level rinsing sink and rather spray cleaned items with QAC-type sanitiser. It is, however, essential to wash these items properly to ensure no residue is left and they must be stacked upside down individually to air dry before being stacked for longer term storage.
  3. In terms of cleaning and sanitising general surfaces don’t use any buckets of water only use the chemical spray bottles.
  4. For washing fresh fruits and vegetables get a large container and fill it with cold water and salad wash chemical. This container can then be used the entire day with top ups of the salad wash chemical. Monitor the amount of residue in the solution and replace should the residue level become excessive or IF the liquid becomes too murky.
  5. Never defrost items in water. The best practice is to leave them overnight in a refrigeration unit; Frozen items could be left out at ambient temperatures to defrost, but they must be monitored constantly to avoid excessive surface temperatures.
  6. Reduce the flow rate in the taps as far as possible. this will also indirectly force staff to scrub more vigorously and longer when rinsing hands just to get the soap off, which is more hygienic.
  7. Create employee awareness. Water consumption comes down to employee habits. Teach employees that water consumption is important and train them on how to use only what’s necessary.Create Employee Awareness. Water consumption comes down to employee habits. Teach employees that water consumption is important and train them on how to use only what’s necessary.
  8. Reuse Grey Water, overflow water from the ice machine and condensed water from refrigeration units could be collected and used for washing in the scullery.Use buckets and bowls instead of the sink for washing vegetables etc.  It makes it easy to carry the water to use for something else. Scullery rinsing water as well as vegetable sanitising water should be used to clean floors. Do not waste cooking water, if you have used water to boil eggs or vegetables, set it aside to cool and use it.
  9. Always have a container handy to catch potable water, for instance when you are Running Off Water to get to the hot water.
  10. Replace Taps, particularly at hand washing basins with timed single-push taps to prevent taps being left to run unattended.
  11. For Hand Washing. Turn on tap to just wet hands, then turn off the tap. Use soap, lather scrub etc, and then only when washing is done, turn on tap just long enough to rinse all dirt and soap. If hands are not physically dirty rather use the hand sanitiser.

The Importance of Hand Washing

Food Consulting Services has always viewed a hand sanitiser as a supplement to hand washing. It is a useful extra layer of defence but cannot be substituted for the latter.

The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) concurs:

There are important differences between washing hands with soap and water and cleaning them with hand sanitizer. For example, alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t kill ALL types of germs, such as a stomach bug called norovirus, some parasites, and Clostridium difficile, which causes severe diarrhoea. Hand sanitizers also may not remove harmful chemicals, such as pesticides and heavy metals like lead. Handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs, pesticides, and metals on hands. Knowing when to clean your hands and which method to use will give you the best chance of preventing sickness.

Do NOT use hand sanitizer if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. Wash your hands with soap and water instead.


Food Consulting Services is a private South African owned Food Testing Laboratory, that tests water and food to ensure compliance with South African National Standards. If you’d like to learn more about Food Consulting Services, visit our website or feel free to enquire with us.