Water reconditioning and reuse in the food processing industry: Current situation and challenges

Yulie E. Meneses, Jayne Stratton, Rolando A. Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Background While the demand for food and water is growing, water shortages are already occurring in many of the world's major food production areas. Irrigation is unarguably the most water demanding operation among the food supply chain, however, efforts from different sectors will collectively secure food for the world's population. Food processing is a key component of the food supply chain and its water footprint is of great consideration, not only because of the high-quality water used in the manufacturing of products but also for the significant volumes of pollutant wastewater generated. Different food sectors produce wastewater of different qualities, but for all cases water reconditioning and reuse offer opportunities to reduce water consumption and to contribute to a better water management in the food processing industry. Scope and approach The factors converging to implement such initiatives including, regulations in place, available technologies, food safety considerations, risk perceptions, water quality, environmental impacts and research needs are discussed herein. The goal of this review paper was to bring to the forefront of the debate the challenges and opportunities that water conservation initiatives offer, in order to produce more food with less water. Key findings Water reconditioning and reuse are technologically-feasible alternatives for the food processing industry to incorporate better water management and sustainability in food processing operations that are lacking. Successful implementation of conservation strategies is associated with the holistic evaluation of the intervention, providing information related to cost, risk, and environmental performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-79
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Membrane technology
  • Reconditioning
  • Water conservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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