In an office order issued by FSSAI on 27 April 2016 it has said that enforcement activities will be stepped up because of unauthorised manufacture and sale of packaged drinking water. FSSAI has had to take these steps because it has received a number of reports about the large extent of Food Business Operators that are engaged in manufacturing and sale of packaged water that does not have FSSAI or BIS certification marks. This has been corroborated by BIS also which has received a number of complaints which all talk about the mushrooming of water manufacturing plants in a number of states, and which are manufacturing and selling packaged drinking water without the BIS certification mark.
According to the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on sales) Regulation 2011 “No person shall manufacture, sell or exhibit for sale packaged drinking water and mineral water except under the Bureau of Indian Standards Certification Mark.”
BIS has published two Indian Standards for Packaged Drinking Water namely
- IS: 13428 for Packaged Natural Mineral Water and
- IS: 14543 for Packaged Drinking Water the standards for this are different from that of packaged natural mineral water
Packaged drinking water comes under the category of “food”. It is essentially potable water which has been processed and packaged as drinking water in a water manufacturing plant. The BIS certification is mandatory, so all Food Business Operators (FBOs) need to obtain prior certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) before applying for a FSSAI license for manufacturing packaged drinking water. Moreover, the packaged drinking water needs to conform to guidelines issued both by the FSSAI and BIS. No FBO can manufacture packaged drinking water without FSSAI license and no license can be obtained without the BIS certificate. BIS certificate is granted only after water test reports from an NABL certified laboratory finds the water to be within the BIS limits for microbiological, physical and chemical contaminants.
It has been brought to the notice of the BIS that packaged drinking water industry is multiplying. But another problem is that a number of FBOs that own packaged drinking water manufacturing plants are not maintaining the quality of the product as per IS: 14543 standards by not undertaking regular water testing. These FBOs are endangering the health of consumers who can be afflicted by water borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, jaundice, etc.
Since food safety is the responsibility of the FSSAI they have instructed food safety officers to undertake regular enforcement activities on unauthorised manufacture and sale of packaged drinking water without FSSAI and BIS certification markings in all the States and Union Territories. The Food Safety Commissioners have also been instructed to furnish the details of the inspections they have undertaken, the number of samples of packaged drinking water collected and the number of samples that have been found to be not in compliance with BIS standards. The enforcement agencies will be taking action against all manufacturers that are found to contravene regulations.