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Bottled Water Regulations & Bottled Water Facts

This learning center is dedicated to providing the facts on bottled water safety and bottled water regulations in the United States.

  • Fact: Bottled water has been federally regulated in the United States by the FDA since 1973.
  • Fact: The FDA requires certain information to be present on bottled water labels, including the type of water.
  • Fact: Bottled water does not have to be transported across state lines to fall under the jurisdiction for the FDA.
  • Fact: Untreated tap way may not be poured into a bottle and labeled as purified water.

Did You Know?

  • About 98.5% of all bottled water sold in the U.S. is sourced domestically. (source: International Bottled Water Association)
  • In 2015, Americans consumed nearly 36 gallons of bottled water per capita. (source: Beverage Marketing Corporation)
  • Federal contaminant regulation levels for tap water and bottled drinking water are the same for approximately 80% of the contaminants regulated by the EPA (tap water) and the FDA (bottled water). (source: Drinking Water Research Foundation)

Bottled Water Sanitation Standards

Federal law requires the FDA to enforce bottled water regulations that are as stringent as the EPA's standards for tap water. The FDA regards bottled water as a food product, and requires that it be safe to drink. FDA bottled water regulations require that water be processed, stored and shipped under sanitary conditions.

The FDA mandates that bottlers enforce sanitation practices that ensure that the final product is free from contamination. The FDA conducts inspections of bottling plants, and tests samples to assess the levels of chemical, bacteriological, microbiological, and radiological contaminants in bottled water products. Bottlers are required to keep source approval and testing records current, and make them available to inspectors.

Bottled Water Contaminant Levels:

The FDA's standards for quality of bottled water require maximum allowable contaminant levels to be in line with EPA standards for municipal tap water. Each time the EPA establishes a new standard for a contaminant, the FDA either adopts it or finds it doesn't pertain to bottled water.

In some cases, maximum contaminant levels for bottled water are more stringent that those for tap water. Bottled water companies are required to routinely sample their products. Bottled water products that contain contaminant levels that exceed the FDA standards may not be sold to the public.

Bottled Water Safety

Bottled drinking water is a safe and convenient packaged food, with a 100% recyclable container. Provisions within the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act ensure that the vast amount of U.S. bottled drinking water is sourced locally and is at least as safe as municipal tap water. The FDA requires that bottlers test their water for both microbiological contaminants, and chemical and radiological contaminants.

Bottled water companies must pass regular food safety inspections by the FDA.

Types of Bottled Water

There are four main types of bottled water:

  • Artesian water from deep within a well that is collected through an aquifier.
  • Purified water treated through advanced filtration methods to remove contaminants.
  • Mineral water from an underground source that contains at least 250ppm of dissolved solids.
  • Spring water from an underground spring that bubbles to the surface.

Additional Sources for Research

Culligan Bottled Water Preparation

Culligan uses a multi-barrier approach process that protects against harmful chemicals and microbiological contaminants, including Cryptosporidium and E-Coli, as well as offering several energy-efficient water dispensers.

Spring water is passed through a set of one-micron absolute filters and ozonated. Dedicated and sanitized stainless steel tanker trucks transport spring water.

Premium Drinking Water undergoes a seven-step water treatment process. The following is an overview of the process.

  • To remove unwanted tastes, odors and most chemicals, water is softened, and passed through medical grade activated carbon filters.
  • To remove particulates, water flows through a five-micron filter.
  • To remove 98% of dissolved salts and organic contaminants, as well as provide a barrier against Cryptosporidium cysts, water is passed
  • through a reverse osmosis unit. (Purified drinking water passes through a one-micron absolute filter.)
  • To enhance the flavor, water is injected with minerals, and ozonated.

Fluoridated water goes through the same seven-step purification process as our drinking water; then we add 1.0-ppm high-grade quality fluoride.

Culligan Water Sources:

  • Culligan uses only state-approved sources for bottled water products.
  • Spring Water products originate from a natural spring in Antigo, WI.
  • Drinking and Fluoridated bottled water originates from Brooklyn Park Municipal Systems deep wells in the Jordan Aquifer.
  • All sources are tested regularly to verify quality.

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