Contribution to harmonisation on WHO guidelines on water 

The CC contributes to harmonisation of WHO Guidelines on water quality (including drinking-water, recreational-water, irrigation-water and wastewater). It collaborates with other WHO Collaborating Centres on Water Quality in Europe. Our CC will build capacity on Water Quality Monitoring and Water Safety Planning in the WHO Europe region and the African Region.

 JEMRA  water quality in food processing

What are the gaps in current FAO/WHO CODEX guidance documents when it comes to water quality? This question has been at the basis for the work of the Joint Expert meeting for Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) on Water Quality in Food Production and Processing. The expert group met with the FAO/WHO secretariat for the first time with the RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment WHO CC in Bilthoven in June 2017. They concluded that further guidance needs to be developed to make the information from the water sector better accessible  for the food handling and processing sector, with a focus on fisheries, primary production and reuse and recycling in food processing facilities.

Many guidance documents have already been developed by the WHO on water quality assessment and management. This includes the Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality and the Direct Potable Reuse guidance. The WHO is continuously working on updating the water-related guidelines (GDWQ 5th edition expected in 2020) based on scientific and technical advancement and in light of increasing pressure on water resources results from climate change.

May  2018, the JEMRA on Water Quality in Food Production and Processing convened for a second time at the FAO in Rome. Again, the RIVM WHO CC played a facilitating role in its interdisciplinary capacity as a bridge-builder between the food and water sector.  About 20 experts representing high and lower income settings took part in this meeting, which had two main goals:

  1. To formulate scientific advice to with regard to gaps in current guidance on microbial assessments in relation to fisheries, primary production and reuse/recycling.
  2. To develop a decision support tree with regard to water quality and detailing points of contact for these aforementioned sub-categories

The findings will be presented to the Codex Alimentarius Committee for Food Hygiene (CCFH) in November 2018. Dr Doctor  Rob de Jonge,  Ir. Lieke Friederichs, Prof.  Ana Maria de Roda Husman of the RIVM's WHO Collaborating Centre are recurring members of this JEMRA expert group.