Bottle Water Safety Information

When you take a swig, that is putting ones mouth directly onto the opening of the bottle or package to drink, you introduce microrganisms into the water. If you must consume this way, do not leave the water to stand, or allow a long period to pass, before consuming. However, it is important to:

Observe any discolouration. Water should be clear, and no sediment or suspended particles should be seen.
If it is flavoured, the taste should be palatable. There must not be any "off" odours.
Observe the expiry date, manufacturer date or even a best before date.
Check also for a seal or valuation of approval, which indicates that a quality system is in place.
Remember that the water may pass the eye test, but there may be unacceptable levels of microorganisms, chemical or physical agents present.
Bottled water has become a favoured option when looking for a quick and safe supply of water. The use of bottled water should not be taken for granted, as there is a safe way to consume water that isn't supplied via a pipe borne supply. The major health and/or safety concern regarding bottled water is the presence of microbiological contaminants. The procedure used in the bottling process, should be able to:

Remove disease causing organisms.
Prevent contamination of the water, during or after the main treatment process.
It is important that systems are put in place to minimise all these risks.
Except brands that have been imported, one has to bear in mind, water that is bottled and treated, very often is WASA's water or local ground water. When water is bottled, the chlorine is removed, which is an anti-bacterial agent. However, once certain safety standards are implemented, the processing of bottled water should actually yield a premium product.

Credit: Information supplied by Cariri
Courtesy: Corporate Communications Unit Consumer Affairs Division
Article courtesy of Trinidad Guardian, May 2, 2001

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