In recent years, media reports about microplastic particles in bottled water products have caused a panic in customers and created potential image challenges.
The initial cloud caused by the media dust-up still hangs over the industry. Bottled water may not be as easy a sale as it once was. But, with consumer education, you can assure your potential customers that bottled water products are safe to drink.
With that in mind, we have put together a quick FAQ blog post you can use in instances where your potential clients, or even the ones you already have, need a little education to boost their confidence.
Is Bottled Water Regulated?
All foods and beverages are strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and this includes bottled water products.
Since the FDA considers bottled water to be a packaged food product, the FDA requires bottled water manufacturers to follow strict guidelines to ensure that bottled water is safe to drink.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tap water, which is considered safe to drink in most U.S. cities.
Federal law states that bottled water’s safety and quality standards must be as stringent as the EPA standards for tap water. In some cases, like the measurement of lead particles in water, bottled water regulations are substantially more stringent than those that cover tap water.
Regulations on bottled water don’t stop at the federal level. They also extend to the state level, with each state instituting its regulations.
The FDA also subjects bottled water products to two sets of requirements in addition to the general food Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). These additional requirements prescribe bottled water GMP and impose bottled water standards of identity and quality.
The regulations for bottled water apply to every aspect of production.
- From source to processing
- Processing to finished water sampling for purity
- Water sampling to final bottling
The Standard of Quality (SOQ) for bottled water establishes standards for more than 90 substances. Learn more about the FDA regulations that govern bottled water.
Who Tests The Water?
The FDA may collect samples for testing from any bottled water facility at any time, whether for cause or during a routine inspection. Although there is no regular schedule for testing, bottled water is tested up to 36 times more frequently than tap water on a gallon-for-gallon basis.
Bottle water companies are consistently running their tests as well. The FDA requires bottled water plants to test a minimum number of samples per day on their own.
Most plants administer more tests than the minimum number required each month by the FDA. Learn more about bottled water testing.
If Regulations Are Strict, Why Have Microplastic Particles Been Found?
The FDA has not issued regulations concerning microplastic particles found in foods and beverages.
The absence of regulation stems from the fact that there is no scientific evidence that microplastic particles pose a health risk.
In August 2019, World Health Organization (WHO) performed an analysis of current research on microplastic particles in drinking water.
The WHO report stated:
“Based on the limited information we have, microplastics in drinking water don’t appear to pose a health risk at current levels.”
What Safeguards Are in Place During the Production Process?
Companies produce bottled water products using a multi-barrier approach. A multi-barrier approach prevents contamination of the product, as well as the:
- Transportation equipment
Measures in a multi-barrier approach may include:
- Source protection
- Reverse osmosis
- Source monitoring
- Carbon filtration
- Ultraviolet (UV) light
What Does the NSF Mark Mean?
The National Sanitation Foundation is a non-profit organization foundation that was founded in 1944. Their mission was and continues to be, to protect and improve global human health.
To achieve this mission, the NSF has created food safety and sanitation standards that promote public health. In practical terms, the NSF is an accredited, independent third-party who tests and certifies products to verify these products meet defined public health and safety standards.
Most current health codes, federal, state, and local regulations are based on current NSF standards. If it’s marked NSF, then the buyer, whether they are a reseller or food operator, can trust that the product is safe and deliver that safety and quality on to their customers.
The majority of products that carry NSF certification bear an NSF mark. If a product displays an NSF certification mark has been “NSF certified” or “NSF listed.”
You may have noticed that there are a few versions of the NSF mark. That is because each mark is specific to the type of product it appears on. NSF marks can appear on a wide variety of products, from bottled water to pool equipment.
You may find the mark on the product itself, on the product packaging, or in the literature that accompanies the product. Whenever you see an NSF mark on a product, it means:
- The manufacturer of the foodservice product uses only FDA approved raw materials.
- This product passed numerous NSF testing for material safety, design, construction, and product performance.
- Harmful chemicals won’t seep into and contaminate your customer’s food or beverages.
- The product is commercial dishwasher safe and is not likely to harbor bacteria.
- An impartial review using established criteria or guidelines has been conducted.
- A trusted third party has objectively reviewed all product labeling and claims.
It’s All Based on Trust
Reports in the media have unnecessarily scared customers. And although we know there is no scientifically proven reason for them to be afraid, they may still be hesitant to use our products.
So, educating potential customers with facts is the first step in building trust. And it’s common knowledge in sales that a customer who trusts you will stick around for the long haul!
We’re Here to Help
By following our blog post, your customers will be pleased with your knowledge. Above all, developing relationships with industry leaders, such as ourselves, is imperative as we can be an important resource in providing:
- Online technical guidance
- Selection of products
- In-house training
And that’s why we offer excellent customer service from your first contact with us. We want you to have the tools to make your business successful.