Friday, March 4, 2011

Bottled Water Tip #7

Bottled Water Tip #7

Bottled water operations in the United States are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to adhere to federally sanctioned quality standards.

In addition, states follow standards formulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has been directed by the Safe Drinking Water Act to set standards for public water supplies in the US. Because the Food and Drug Administration considers bottled water a food product, the industry must meet the FDA's standards. The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that all products are safe and free from contaminants that could potentially harm the consumer.

Among the regulations is an array of guidelines for acceptable levels of the substances typically found in bottled water. These include limits on the number of coliform organisms present in the bottled water, as well as various chemical contaminants, such as iron, and certain physical qualities (turbidity, color and odor, for example).

According to the FDA, approval of water sources must meet regulations for quality established by each state, as well. State agencies have the responsibility to inspect, sample, analyze and approve your sources of water, whether from wells, springs or tap water that is to be distilled before bottling. States also certify testing laboratories that inspect and sample the water sources. As in restaurants and food processing plants, state agencies perform unannounced spot inspections. Some states mandate annual inspections of water sources, while the EPA requires a radiological quality test every four years.

Source waters also are to be periodically tested to verify they are bacteriologic and toxicologically acceptable and for chemical and physical quality.

Naturally, no bottled water operator wants to produce a contaminated product. Federal and state regulations help you adhere to the highest standards of quality in your plant by telling you exactly what is expected in product quality and safety.

Norland offers a variety of commercial distillers, ozone treatment and other pretreatment systems to help you comply with FDA regulations. Norland designs and manufactures a complete line of turnkey bottling plants for the PET market, equipment for bottling single serve and 3- to 5-gallon bottles, as well as pretreatment systems, ozone systems and commercial distillers. Norland also offers a comprehensive "how-to" guide for a successful bottling operation, which contains extensive information on FDA regulations, testing parameters and other information pertaining to the FDA's general food Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).