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Some drinking water units fake the public out

28,August, 2016

Officials of the State unit of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) have been detecting fake ISI labels on some.

Even the assurance of an ISI logo on packaged drinking water can no longer be taken for granted. Officials of the State unit of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) have been detecting fake ISI labels on some.

These fakes were seized during a raid conducted by the officials two days ago in Palakkad district. Similar instances had come to light in raids in Alappuzha earlier.

Misuse of ISI mark is an offence punishable with one-year simple imprisonment or fine up to Rs.50,000, or both, as per the BIS Act, 1986. The 30-year-old and relatively mild punishment codified in the Act could be no big deterrent, say officials, urging a scaling up of the fine to at least Rs.2 lakh and a more severe incarceration clause. The new rules are understood to be in a draft stage now.

State BIS chief Kadirvel told The Hindu that packaged drinking water, filled in 20-litre jars bearing spurious ISI mark, was found at a unit at Kannadi in Palakkad. The product was being sold under brand names such as ‘Aqua Varshah’, ‘Surabhi Aqua’, ‘Gogul Dew’, ‘Pure.O’, ‘Holy Aqua’, and ‘Suraksha H2O’. The manufacturing unit consisted of just a shed, where workers filled the jars with water drawn from a tank nearby, he said.

“The unit did not have a BIS licence, which is mandatory as per the FSSAI Act, 2006. Every unit manufacturing drinking water is required to have facilities such as Reverse Osmosis and ultraviolet (UV) filtration to ensure quality. The manufacturing facility should be certified by BIS and the product must conform to quality standards as per quality norms set by it.”

Food material seized from manufacturing units are to be tested at government-approved laboratories, since the BIS has no laboratory of its own in Kerala. The Kochi-based BIS office has to depend on the food testing laboratory of the Cashew Export Promotion Council at Kottayam or a few other select laboratories approved by the government.

While BIS officials can take action against those using the fake ISI mark, it is for the FSSAI officials to find out whether drinking water units are functioning with valid permits. Consumers could verify the genuineness of names and addresses of BIS certified products from the website http://www.bis.org.in, the official said

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