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BEVERAGE

FSSAI seeks comments on stds for sale of water through vending machines
Saturday, 03 March, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Shraddha Joshi, Mumbai
FSSAI has issued a notice calling for suggestions, views and comments from members of the World Trade Organization (WTO)-Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) committee on the draft notification relating to the standards for drinking water sold through vending machines within a period of two months.

As per the notification, under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, in Regulation 2.10 relating to Packaged Drinking Water (other than Mineral Water), in Sub-regulation 2.10.8, a clause stating, “Drinking water offered or sold through water vending machines shall be clear without any sediments, suspended particles and extraneous matter,” has been added.

Meanwhile, under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations, 2011, in Regulation 2.3 related to Restrictions relating to conditions for sale, Clause 17 has been revised. It reads, “No person shall manufacture, sell or exhibit for sale packaged drinking water except under the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Certification Mark. Provided that the requirement of Certification Mark of Bureau of Indian Standards shall not apply on the drinking water offered or sold through water vending machines.”

Commenting on the notice, a source from the Maharashtra State Packaged Drinking Water Association said, “It is a government rule to have a BIS certification mark on packaged drinking water. BIS is the primary thing to identify and conclude that the water is safe. Every manufacturer selling packaged drinking water is required to have BIS, whose overall cost goes upto Rs 1.5 lakh with weekly, monthly and yearly inspections. As plastic is harmful for human health, its use is not permitted. Hence, the use of stainless steel is compulsory in the plant. Whereas in case of vending machines, hardly any inspection is carried out. Thus, it cannot be 100 per cent hygienic.”

He added, “If it is compulsory for a manufacturer selling packaged drinking water to have a  certification mark, why is it not mandatory to have the same for water from vending machines?”

The draft is likely to improve the quality of water sold loosely through water vending machines. Besides, it will also encourage the vendors to comply with the sanitary requirements under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
 
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