20-Litre Packaged Drinking Water
Bisleri, Kinley and Pure Drop not safe enough
Whether in one-litre bottles or 20-litre bubble-topped cans, packaged drinking water has become a common sight—and a much-in-demand product. Without getting into the debate and irony of water as a commercial product, we at Consumer Voice decided that it was high time consumers knew about the safety and acceptability parameters relevant to this ‘precious commodity' (an oxymoron, if you will). Following up on our report on one-litre packaged drinking water (covering 12 brands, published in the May issue), we present here our findings on five brands of the 20-litre variant. The questions and parameters remain the same, hinging on whether the water we procure at a price is drinkable enough. It certainly is not as simple as checking if the water looks clean and clear. Harmful, microscopic organisms are not visible to the naked eye. If they were, we would not be consuming the brands that we did, despite their not fulfilling basic safety conditions (as our tests show). The following report will turn out to be an eye-opener in more ways than one, because it will throw up names that are not recommended for consumption—mind you, some of these have been household names for a while now. Read on to find out if your packaged water brand is one of them. A Consumer Voice Report
Like the one-litre variants, 20-litre packaged drinking water is also covered under mandatory ISI marking scheme. For the tests, carried out at an NABL-accredited laboratory, we referred to IS: 14543: 2004 with the latest amendments. Test parameters were mainly based on Indian Standard in order to judge the overall quality of the drinking water being sold, as also on the requirements of FSS Regulations, 2011, which cover the product requirements.
For the tests, we chose four regular/top-selling brands and one local brand (Delhi-based) of 20-litre packaged drinking water. These were evaluated on quality, acceptability and sensory parameters. The key parameters included presence of undesirable substances and microbiological organisms, pesticide residues, toxic/heavy metals, total dissolved solids (TDS), pH level, radioactivity, turbidity and colour.