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Govt proposes tough standards for bottled water

February 20, 2003 17:40 IST

Amidst the raging controversy over the quality of bottled water, the government has formulated stringent standards proposed to be enforced from April 1, Health Minister Sushma Swaraj announced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Based on the recommendations of the Bureau of Indian Standards, a draft notification prepared for this purpose has been circulated for public comments before carrying out the necessary amendments in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, Swaraj said in a statement to a calling attention motion on detection of harmful pesticides in bottled water.

The stringent standards included fixing the permissible limit of pesticides residues at 0.0001 mg per litre individually and 0.0005 mg per litre collectively in line with international standards, she said.

There are as many as 32 pesticides for which tests are proposed to be conducted in bottled water using internationally established test methods.

Swaraj said the proposed notification also makes it mandatory for manufacturers to produce a no objection certificate from the central or state government ground water authorities.

It is on the basis of the NoC that the manufacturers can obtain licence from the Bureau of Indian Standards and PFA authorities, she added.

The draft notification has been circulated for public comments with objection and suggestions being invited and for the information of all persons likely to be affected thereby, the minister said.

Pepsi Foods, Ion Exchange say products meet quality standards

Meanwhile, stripped of the ISI quality mark for their bottled water operations in selected plants, leading manufacturers Pepsi Foods and Ion Exchange said their product meets the highest quality standards.

Pepsi, whose Bharuch (Gujarat) plant has been debarred from using the ISI mark, said: "We have been asked to stop using the ISI mark temporarily, until explanation is produced to explain why production was conducted before the issue of BIS certification."

The Indian subsidiary of American food and beverages giant PepsiCo Inc said in a statement here that the Bharuch plant had not yet commenced commercial production.

"The withdrawal of the BIS certification for our bottled water from this plant is purely procedural and has nothing to do with quality," it said.

Pepsi Foods, which makes the 'Aquafina' brand of bottled water, asserted that the product 'meets BIS, WHO and most stringent EU norms.'

Mumbai-based Ion Exchange said its packaged water plant at Navi Mumbai has not yet received any notification from the government or BIS authorities. It has not received any warning for closure or grounds for the same, it said.

K S Raghuveer, general manager of consumer products division, said its 'Zero-B' brand of packaged drinking water 'conforms to EU standards of 0.1 ppb limit for pesticides.'

"Full production is on at the plant. In fact, the plant has recently received its license renewed from BIS," Raghuveer said.

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