Spurious bottled water poses threat

KATHMANDU: Sales of bottled water may have increased with more people becoming aware of health and hygiene recently, but spurious products sold in the market has made people more vulnerable to health risks than ever.

Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC), the only state-owned mechanism entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring quality of food products in the market has recently taken action against five different brands of bottled water for indulging in unscrupulous trade practices in the Valley.

Research officer and spokesperson for the DFTQC, Purna Chandra Wosti, said, “These brands that sold spurious drinking water at the expense of public health had to be brought to book.” Wosti revealed that the Department had taken action against Ayush Beverage Company, Pashupati Spring Water, Balaji Mineral Water, Kantipur Mineral Water and Ichangu Drinking water in line with Food Act-1966.

“We found that the products manufactured by these companies did not meet the quality standard. Hence, we took action against the companies this week,” Wosti said. The Department has also asked the companies to stop marketing undrinkable bottled water with immediate effect. “We have directed the authorities to destroy the spurious products,” added Wosti. The Department has listed Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts under the top priority areas.

Food inspectors have been deployed to ensure that safe food products are sold in the market. In some sampled water pH level and residual free chlorine were not found to have been met the standard.

Ram Chandra Simkhada, secretary at Consumers’ Right Protection Forum blamed that the government was not doing enough to control unscrupulous trade practices. “The government needs to bring unscrupulous businessmen to book,” he said.