21 CFR § 112.44 - What specific microbial quality criteria apply to agricultural water used for certain intended uses?

§ 112.44 What specific microbial quality criteria apply to agricultural water used for certain intended uses?

(a) When you use agricultural water for any one or more of these following purposes, you must ensure there is no detectable generic Escherichia coli (E. coli) in 100 milliliters (mL) of agricultural water, and you must not use untreated surface water for any of these purposes:

(1) Used as sprout irrigation water;

(2) Applied in any manner that directly contacts covered produce during or after harvest activities (for example, water that is applied to covered produce for washing or cooling activities, and water that is applied to harvested crops to prevent dehydration before cooling), including when used to make ice that directly contacts covered produce during or after harvest activities;

(3) Used to contact food contact surfaces, or to make ice that will contact food contact surfaces; and

(4) Used for washing hands during and after harvest activities.

(b) When you use agricultural water during growing activities for covered produce (other than sprouts) using a direct water application method, the following criteria apply (unless you establish and use alternative criteria in accordance with § 112.49):

(1) A geometric mean (GM) of your agricultural water samples of 126 or less colony forming units (CFU) of generic E. coli per 100 mL of water (GM is a measure of the central tendency of your water quality distribution); and

(2) A statistical threshold value (STV) of your agricultural water samples of 410 or less CFU of generic E. coli per 100 mL of water (STV is a measure of variability of your water quality distribution, derived as a model-based calculation approximating the 90th percentile using the lognormal distribution).