Today's question: Is bottled water regulated?
"Plain Talk" answer: In both the United States and Canada, bottled water is regulated as a food product, which means it is regulated at the production source, but not once the product has gone into distribution channels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the U.S. regulator, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) monitors bottlers under the Food and Drugs Act while Health Canada establishes health and safety standards for bottled water and packaged ice and develops labelling policies related to health and nutrition in that country. Provinces and states may regulate the bottled water sources, including drilling and construction practices, allowable rates of production and watershed protection.
The FDA has established limits for more than 75 microbiological, physical, chemical and radiological substances for both the source water and the finished bottled water product, and these standards must be as stringent as USEPA standards for public water supplies. Bottlers are subject to annual inspections and must test weekly for the presence of bacteria in their water. Individual states and industry trade groups may impose additional regulations and requirements on bottlers. Regulations also require manufacturers' labels to list the contents and source of the bottled water.
In Canada, bottled water companies must adhere to similar quality standards, good manufacturing practices and labeling requirements.
For more information on this and many other water-related topics, check out "Plain Talk About Drinking Water" by Dr. James M. Symons.