New FDA bottled water
rules to combat E. Coli
of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/New-FDA-bottled-water-rules-to-combat-E.-coli
By Mike Stones, 28-May-2009
Bottled water manufacturers,
including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, will face stricter standards following
the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to implement new rules to
prevent contamination with E. coli bacteria.
From December 1, all manufacturers must test
source water for the germs each week as is currently required for
water products. If tests prove positive for E. coli,
companies must explain in writing how they eliminated the bacteria and
retest samples before use.
According to a notice posted on the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) website: “Bottled water containing E. coli will be considered adulterated, and source
water containing E. coli will not be considered to be of a safe,
sanitary quality and will be prohibited from use in the production of
The new rules also require manufacturers to
test source water for coliforms, a group of mainly harmless bacteria.
If coliforms are found, companies must also test for fecal
contamination. Although bottled water is already tested for coliform
and fecal contamination, the new rules require the water source itself
to be tested.
First suggested last September, the new
bottled water rules were developed to meet 2006 US Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) standards for public drinking water.
The FDA received 19 responses to its proposals
from trade associations,
industry, a law firm, an environmental
advocacy organization, and consumers. “The comments generally
supported the proposed rule,” said the FDA.
Between 70 per cent to 75 per cent of bottled
water comes from the ground; the same source where consumers receive
tap water, said the FDA.
The value of the US bottled water industry is
estimated at $11bn.
E. coli infection is an indicator of fecal
contamination and can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea or potentially
The US Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention notes on its website that: “Experts think that there may
be about 70,000 infections with E. coli O157 each year in the United
States. We can only estimate because we know that many infected people
do not seek medical care, many do not submit a stool specimen for
testing, and many labs do not test for STEC (Shiga toxin-producing
“We think that a similar number of persons
have diarrhea caused by non-O157 STEC. Many labs do not identify
non-O157 STEC infection because it takes even more work than
identifying E. coli O157.”