Bridging the GAPs: Approaches to Treating Water On Farms

Figure 2 - Comparison of validation and verification definitions

Validation Procedures

Validating an irrigation water treatment system involves a process that demonstrates that the treatment can adequately control potential hazards. Through validation, critical limits are established that are relied upon and monitored to assure control of potential foodborne hazards. Validation procedures must show effectiveness against a given target microorganism of concern. Target organisms may include a foodborne pathogen of public health significance, i.e., Salmonella , shiga-toxigenic E. coli , or Cyclospora , or an indicator organism, e.g., generic E. coli or coliforms. It is important to note that validation of a chemical treatment (e.g., chlorine) or device treatment (e.g., UV light) for plant pathogens or algae are not sufficient for validating foodborne microorganisms. Once a target organism(s) is defined, the validation process is initiated and performed in what can be broken down into two parts: 1) initial validation, and 2) on-farm validation. The initial validation involves scientific validation studies from a laboratory published in a journal article or trade organization publication, industry adopted standards, or other technical review. This initial validation step could be performed by the manufacturer or supplier of the chemical or device treatment. Regardless of the source, these scientific studies should target the inactivation or reduction of foodborne pathogens of interest for your commodity or their indicators. Validating critical limits may include additional considerations beyond microbial inactivation, including water quality factors, such as turbidity, total dissolved solids, pH, or water hardness. Each of these factors will have a direct impact on the efficacy of treatment systems, as discussed in Section 2. The adoption of many of these technologies is occurring before many systems can be extensively validated. Research is currently being conducted to support applications for on-farm uses.

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