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Use of Chlorinated Wash Water

Introduction

Chlorine can be used in the wash water of fresh fruits and vegetables to reduce microbial load. The following highlights key preventive control considerations when using chlorine wash water on fresh produce, including ready to eat (RTE) fresh-cut fruit and vegetables.

Chlorine use and concentration

  • After the chlorine wash, rinse the fresh produce with potable water to remove excess chlorine from the fresh produce.
  • Ensure that the residual chlorine concentration on the fresh fruit or vegetable does not exceed the level of chlorine in potable water, as per the 'Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality' published by Health Canada, as well as any applicable provincial requirements.
  • Use suggested concentrations for chlorinated wash water.
    • Between 100 and 150 parts per million (ppm) of total chlorine or between 2 to 7 ppm of free residual chlorine after contact with the fresh fruit or vegetable.
    • The pH of the water should be between 6.0 and 7.0. The contact time is dependent upon the product and the chlorine concentration but ideally should not exceed 5 minutes.
  • Monitor, control and record the:
    • chlorine concentration, pH, and temperature of the wash water; and
    • contact time of the wash water on the fresh fruit or vegetable.