Estonian Food Board urges food businesses not to use drinking water in Kuressaare

  • 2023-05-08
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Estonian Agriculture and Food Board draws the attention of all food businesses operating on the large western island of Saaremaa to a possible water contamination on the island and warns against using the drinking water from the public water supply of Kuressaare town.

"We request that the water from Kuressaare's public water supply should not be used for handling or preparing food until additional circumstances have been determined, in order to stop possible contamination," leading specialist at the department of food at the Agriculture and Food Board Jaana Oona said.

Oona noted that the water used for treating food must meet the corresponding microbiological and chemical quality standards. She added that food businesses can used bottled water for preparing food, if possible.

Samples collected from tap water in Kuressaare arrived at the Health Board's laboratory on Sunday evening and a preliminary assessment was provided on Monday morning, according to which the contamination is unlikely to be widespread.

Identifying the disease agent will take some more time because if there is little infectious material, more of it needs to be cultivated before it can be analyzed.

Deputy director general of the Health Board Mari-Anne Harma said that the preliminary lab results indicate the presence of Escherichia coli and coliform bacteria but waterborne viruses cannot be ruled out, either.

"It is also possible that no one specific disease agent is found; that would also be ordinary, because water contamination is generally associated with several agents," Harma noted.