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New guide to food & water safety

A Guide to Food & Water Safety for the Oil & Gas Industry - OGP Report Number 397

The joint OGP/IPIECA Health Committee has just issued a new publication focusing on the importance of food and water safety within the oil and gas industry. It comes at a time when the World Health Organization (WHO) reports a rising incidence of food- and water-related illnesses in both developed and developing countries.


According to recent data, unsafe food and water is implicated in three million deaths per year and 2.4 billion episodes of illness. Vulnerability extends to developed nations as well as those still lacking modern infrastructure. In the USA alone, for example, every year an estimated 76 million people get sick from food- and water-related infections, more than 325,000 are hospitalised and 5,000 die.


Given the global extent of the problem, all sectors of the oil and gas industry, from frontier exploration and production locations to retail operations, are potentially ‘at risk’ from diseases related to food and water, the report says. Such diseases, some of them potentially fatal, ‘can have significant adverse impacts on workforce productivity, particularly during large-scale construction phases of a project.’


The strategies set out in the guide are based on an emerging international consensus on the key principles and practices for organising and implementing effective and sustainable food and water management programmes. The two building blocks cited are the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system and the generic food safety management system (FSMS) developed under the 2005 International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 2200 standard.


Aimed at corporate and project-level HSE managers, operations managers, company physicians, clinic medical staff, occupational health and hygiene supervisors and company, contractor and franchise retail site managers and staff, the new guide is an evidence-based reference that scientifically and systematically describes:


- Fundamental medical principles that explain the transmission and development of food- and water-related illnesses
- How to develop effective management systems for food and water safety based on the key medical principles
- The process of developing appropriate monitoring and evaluation strategies

The publication includes generic programme templates, checklists, audit protocols, layperson guidance documents, web-based resources and evidence-based technical and scientific articles.

To download a copy of A guide to food and water safety for the oil and gas industry, visit the publications page of www.ogp.org.uk.

Do you need someone with food safety experience in the oil and gas industry to develop, implement or manage a special food safety projects for onshore or offshore oil and gas installations as part of your HSE plan? see FOOD SAFETY SERVICES.

WHO Guide to Ship Sanitation

The WHO Guide to Ship Sanitation has become the official global reference on health requirements for ship construction and operation. Its purpose is to standardise the sanitary measures taken in ships, to safeguard the health of travellers and workers and to prevent the spread of infection from one country to another.

The Guide was first published in 1967 and amended in 1987. The revised third edition of the Guide has been prepared to reflect the changes in construction, design and size of ships since the 1960s and the existence of new diseases (e.g. Legionnaires’ disease) that were not foreseen when the 1967 Guide was published.

Water safety on ships is included in the plan of work of the rolling revision of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality. The issue, which is covered briefly in chapter 6 of the third edition of the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality, is of considerable international interest. Drinking-water and food safety are, however, addressed in considerable depth in the Guide to Ship Sanitation.

An initial draft of the latest guide has been completed, and is available in the Food & Water Guidelines section

Food Poisoning Examples

Food poisoning incidents can occur anywhere - here are a few stories reported by the BBC which help to illustrate how incidents occur and some of the consequences of failure which can include fatalities.

They are not taken from catering in the oil and gas industry but the principles and lessons learnt are still relevant. The incidents in the UK have occurred against a background of comprehensive food legislation, training and enforcement.

Incidents are often due to the failure or absence of simple procedures e.g. cross contamination from raw to cooked meats, cross contamination from food handlers, inadequate temperature control or more usually, a combination of factors.

WHO Food & Water Factsheets

Information from the World Health Organisation are available on the Food & Water Standards section of 'Resources':

Emerging issues in Water and Infectious Diseases
Bottled Water Factsheet
Food Safety Factsheet

Food & Water Standards

Preventing Person-to-Person Spread following Gastrointestinal Infections

Preventing Person-to-Person Spread following Gastrointestinal Infections: Guidelines for Public Health Physicians and Environmental Health Officers

This guidance updates advice on preventing person-to-person spread of gastrointestinal infections in the general population, first published in 1983 by the Public Health Laboratory Service and last updated in 1995. It represents a consensus of informed opinion and is particularly aimed at those public health physicians and environmental health officers who do not specialise in communicable disease control. It addresses predominantly the organisms that more commonly present them with problems. The guidance considers general measures, enteric precautions, exclusion from work and other settings and groups that pose an increased risk of spreading infection.

Guidelines

Codex Catering Guide

Link to the 'Codex Guide "Code of Hygienic Practice for Precooked and Cooked Foods in Mass Catering CAC/RCP 39-1993' added to the Food & Water Standards in the Resources Area.

This Code has, as far as possible, been made consistent with the format and content of the General Principles of Food Hygiene.

The need for this Code is based on the following considerations:

1. Epidemiological data show that many outbreaks of food poisoning are caused by food produced in mass catering.
2. Large-scale catering operations are particularly hazardous because of the way the food is stored and handled.
3. Outbreaks can involve large numbers of people.


Codex Catering Guide