Tuesday, July 21

The FDA Does Regulate Bottled Water

Lately I have been reading a lot of strongly voiced articles against bottled water. And while I agree with the spirit of the articles I don’t always agree with the “facts” of the articles.

The one “fact” that I see stated over and over again is “The FDA does not regulate bottled water.”

That is not true.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are both responsible for the safety of drinking water.

  • EPA regulates public drinking water (tap water)
  • FDA regulates bottled drinking water.
The FDA regulates bottled water as a food and has established specific regulations for bottled water in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR):

  • Standard of identity regulations (21 CFR § 165.110[a]) that define different types of bottled water, such as spring water and mineral water, and standard of quality regulations

  • (21 CFR §165.110[b]) that establish allowable levels for contaminants (chemical, physical, microbial and radiological) in bottled water.

  • FDA also has established Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations for the processing and bottling of bottled drinking water (21 CFR part 129).

  • Labeling regulations (21 CFR part 101) and CGMP regulations (21 CFR part 110) for foods in general also apply to bottled water.

It is worth noting that bottled water is one of the few foods for which FDA has developed specific CGMP regulations or such a detailed standard of quality.

To read the complete regulations: 21CFR PART 129 : PROCESSING AND BOTTLING OF BOTTLED DRINKING WATER or you can click here to read the info written in non-industry type speak.

Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way condoning the usage of bottle water or minimizing the enormity of the problem that bottle water has created!

I think bottle water has its place (for emergency, for places where water is not safe to drink, etc) but NOT for normal everyday drinking.

I think bottle water is a huge waste of landfill space, natural resources, energy, $ etc... (the list can go on and on)

What I am saying is that the FDA does regulate bottled water and saying that bottled water is just “tap” water in a bottle is probably a bit of a simplification and not entirely accurate.

With that said....go buy a reusable water bottle and fill it with safe, EPA regulated, drinking water (filtered and cold if you prefer)


Lisa Sharp said...

I always see that bottled water is less regulated than tap which is true.

Bottled water is almost always tap water so it is regulated that way as well BUT that is before the bottling and I think we all know how well the FDA does at keeping us safe.

Bottled water is not just an environmental issue, it's a social justice one as well and that is often over looked. When it isn't tap water it's often taken from countries where people don't have clean drinking water themselves. It quite sad that our laziness is taking clean water from other people.

Didn't mean to rant and I know you aren't saying it's good. Just adding to it. :)

Over Coffee - the green edition said...

No problem Lisa. I don't see it as ranting. And I always appreciate more info and other opinions! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.