The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has discovered an alarming amount of chemicals and bacteria in samples of bottled water in a random series of tests, and is planning to crackdown on companies marketing packaged water without proper certification.

Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer of FSSAI, said the apex authority had been informed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) that a large number of companies were packaging water without requisite certification marks and licences from either the FSSAI or BIS.

Samples tested at Ghaziabad’s National Test House showed “positive total coliform bacterial counts, which confirmed that they were unfit for consumption,” said Dr Ashish Singla.. “Keeping in mind the rising demand of packaged drinking water, it becomes important for officials to monitor quality and ensure it is licensed by concerned authorities to safeguard the consumer’s health,” he said.

Contaminated water poses a risk of contracting diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid, jaundice and gastroenteritis.

BIS has set quality standards for packaged drinking water and packaged natural mineral water, and it is mandatory for manufacturers to get BIS certification according to the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition & Restriction on sales) Regulation, 2011.

Agarwal said states have been asked to provide details of enforcement activities such as numbers of inspections, samples collected, contraventions found as well as action taken. “We have also written to all state food commissioners to strengthen the enforcement activities on unauthorised manufacture and sale of packaged drinking water without FSSAI and BIS mark.”


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