Food Safety Irrigation

On Farm Food Safety: Your Business Advantage Water Quality

By Christine Card, Food Safety Team Lead  – Agriculture 

Water quality varies depending on the water source.  While a best practice is to always test your water, it is especially important to test your irrigation water if you are sourcing from a pond or other open water source. The most accurate way to take a sample is directly from the irrigation system. Allow the system to run for a few minutes then collect the sample from the end of the drip line or emitter using a sterile container provided by a laboratory accredited to perform microbial water testing. Refrigerate the sample and have it tested within 24 hours.  Make sure the lab knows that your sample is irrigation water and not drinking water because there are different standards/guidelines for each!

Food safety practices contribute to competitive, productive and sustainable agri-food business.  For more information on this fact sheet visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs website:, click “factsheets/infosheet”, or call us at 1-877-424-1300.

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