The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) has said that bottled drinking water must be shrink wrapped in plastic from mid-June, one month later than previously announced. The department said it extended the deadline in order to give manufacturers ample time to comply as the rule will be enforced strictly.
Spokesperson for the DFTQC Purna Chandra Wasti said they had extended the deadline at the request of bottling plants. “The manufacturers said that they had not been able to obtain adequate quantities of printed shrink wraps within the time provided by the department,” he said.
Manufacturers will also be required to print the brand name and licence number on the shrink wrap.
Presently, manufacturers have been using normal caps and not sealed caps on water bottles. This has allowed unscrupulous retailers to refill empty jars themselves instead of sending them back to the factory. The new provision is expected to control sales of adulterated and impure water.
Kishore Manandhar, president of the Nepal Bottled Water Industries Association, said that they requested the department to extend the deadline. “We asked for additional time to clear old stocks from the market,” he said.
There are more than 200 licensed bottled water manufacturers in the Kathmandu Valley alone. According to the association, the valley’s daily requirement of bottled water amounts to 3 million litres.
Instances of sales of impure water surge during the period mid-February to mid-June almost every year with a rise in demand, said Wasti.
Department records show that of the 43 samples of packaged water collected in the first 10 months of this fiscal year, 16 were found to contain impurities.
Wasti said most of the cases were related with sales of products that did not meet the pH standard while a number of cases were related with microbes contamination. Acc-ording to him, cases have been filed against the 16 companies.
Source: The Kathmandu Post