Packaged Drinking Water
Some are microbiologically unsafe. Don’t drink them
In a country where sufficient and safe potable water is not available everywhere, either because harmful chemical substances are found in the layers of earth which enter into water or because the water may be contaminated due to pathogenic microorganisms, packaged drinking water is serious business. However, what if the packaged drinking water – the one that you and I buy at a price in the belief that it is the safest – is not drinkable enough? What if it has harmful organisms? In such a case, there cannot be two opinions that the seller is not only breaching the consumer's trust but is also putting their health at risk. Considering that packaged drinking water is consumed by an ever-increasing population, the rules governing its sourcing and treatment processes have to be strictly conformed to. In order to find out if unhealthy packaged drinking water brands are being sold in the Indian market, ConsumerVoice tested a dozen top brands – on the basis of their market share – in an NABL-accredited laboratory. While most brands passed all tests and fulfilled the parameters set by the national standards, the samples of a few failed in crucial microbiological tests. Is your bottled water brand one of them? Here's a complete report for you to find that out.
The test programme for packaged drinking water is based on IS: 14543: 2004 with the latest amendments. Test parameters were mainly based on IS in order to judge the overall quality, as also on the requirements of FSS Regulations, 2011, which cover the product requirements.
We tested 12 brands of one-litre packaged drinking water on quality, acceptability and sensory parameters. The testing was conducted in an NABLaccredited laboratory capable of testing and analysing packaged drinking water as per the mentioned standards.
The key parameters for which the 12 brands were tested included presence of undesirable substances and microbiological organisms, pesticide residues, toxic/heavy metals, total dissolved solids (TDS), pH level, radioactivity, turbidity and colour.
As per Gazette Notification dated 15 November 2015, issued by the ministry of health and family welfare, FSS Amended Regulation 2016 (as per revised version of IS 14543: 2016) has come into force from 1 March 2017. For the latest Consumer Voice report on packaged drinking water, since the samples of water were drawn from the market before 1 March 2017, the test programme was carried out on the basis of IS: 14543: 2004.