Water safety: Bisleri, Aquafina, Kinley under FSSAI scanner
4,300 bottled drinking water manufacturers in India are under the FSSAI scanner.
The next time you are purchasing a bottle of water from your local banya, you could be surprised to find out that your tap water would be ‘safer’ to drink. It’s not that the liquid in those packaged drinking water bottles are unsafe, but there is a possibility that they could be impure, unfiltered.
According to media report filed by an Indian national daily, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the body which regulates the food and water in the country, has put some of the biggest names in the packaged water manufacturer market under the scanner for not operating with proper licenses.
According to the report, out of the 60,000 packaged drinking water bottling units in India, 4,300 units are presently operating without proper licenses. Out of the 4,300 manufacturers, there are bigger names such as Bisleri, Coca Cola’s Kinley and PepsiCo’s Aquafina on the list.
The FSSAI has sent out written letters to the various food security commissioners of all the states and territories asking for a detailed list of all the units that are operating with proper licenses. They added that only one-fourth of the total units in India have obtained the mandatory licenses that are issued by the FSSAI and BIS. Those who have not obtained proper licenses are clearly working against the food safety laws if the country.
Any unit that runs a packaged drinking water unit has to obtain a license from the FSSAI and the BIS, which ensures the safety and quality of the water and the packaging. Every company that obtains licences go through two layers of testing, which includes surprise visits and regular audits. Each license is obtained only after exhaustive scientific tests for the water and packaging’s quality and safety, including the quality and quantity of the minerals added.
The FSAAI has received several complaints about similar bottling units sprouting and operating without proper BIS certifications. The report mentions that the packaged water industry in India is presently dominated by six players including Dhariwal, Tata Global Beverages and Parle. The packaged water industry is expected to grow by 22 per cent, to a whopping Rs 16,000 crore in the next two years.