FSSAI become aware of the media reports which clearly pointed out that all the packaged drinking water is being sold on the open market without having FSSAI License. The names of some well-known brands like Bisleri, Kinley, and Aquafina which sell packaged drinking water were named as offenders which were selling the packaged water bottles without packing. FSSAI has stated some following points which need to be kept in mind of all the manufacturers when applying for FSSAI license for packed drinking water.
- As per the FSSAI Act, 2006 packaged drinking water is covered under the definition of food. Therefore as per the provision of the FSSAI Act, all the Food Business Operators (FBOs) before commencing any food business including packaged drinking water will be requiring License or Registration number.
- As per the FSSAI rules and regulations it mandatory for packaged drinking water to be certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The FSSAI has made it very clear under the FSSAI (Prohibition and Restriction on sale) Regulation, 2011that the “ person shall manufacture, sell, exhibit for sale packaged drinking water except under Bureau of Indian Standards Certification”.
- On 29th March 2001 BIS certification for packaged drinking water, which is different from packaged natural mineral water, was made mandatory under the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA). At this time the FSSAI Act was not even operationalized.
Bureau of Indian Standards has formulated Indian Standard for packaged drinking water and packaged natural mineral water. After the NABL certified laboratory test, the water finds the water to be within the BIS Limits for microbiological, physical and chemical contaminants will issue a BIS Certificate.
As FSSAI is the one and only food regulator in the country, so as per its rules:
- No Food Business Operator can manufacture packaged drinking water without having FSSAI license or Registration and;
- No license can be obtained without having the BIS certificate.
Therefore all major players should make sure they have the BIS certifications to avoid any cancellation of their FSSAI licenses or registration.
One of the leading media reports forced that the FSSAI officials to hold a meeting with BIS officers and representatives of packaged drinking water manufacturers from PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Bisleri will also join the meeting. In response to the media reports, the company representatives claimed that the manufacturing or processing plants of the company involved in packaging drinking water were licensed by FSSAI and were BIS certified. The FSSAI directed the FBOs to submit in detail all the necessary information of their manufacturing as well as processing units and also the details of all third-party manufacturers or processors.
After the verification, the FSSAI concluded that all these packed drinking water manufactures had valid FSSAI licenses as well as BIS certification and all were in compliance with the prescribed regulations. FSSAI is also undertaking some measures to check the licenses and certifications of other packaged drinking water manufacturers.
After so many news and reports the FSSAI has assured the public through one of the press conferences that they are taking all the necessary actions to ensure the quality and safety of all packaged drinking water sold in the country.
In India, bottled water is the fastest growing industry. The major driver for the increase in the sale of bottled water in India is a large number of domestic and foreign tourist and the other reason for the increase in the sale of packaged drinking water is lack of faith of people in the purity of water supplied by municipalities and other local bodies.