The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) today disposed 50 jars of Ava branded bottled water that were unsafe for drinking. The water was confiscated from Bhakti Food Industries, Sitapaila, on August 11 by the Metropolitan Police Balaju beat after receiving complaints from local consumers and submitted to DFTQC for laboratory test.
The test results showed that the water contained 28 coliform per 100ml, which according to DFTQC, was unsafe for consumption. Coliform is a measure of Colony Forming Units (CFU) and reported per millilitre for liquids. DFTQC requires zero CFU per 100ml for consumable liquids to meet the national standard.
However, the company is still selling other lots of processed water as the department, in an inspection the next day, had found that the company had maintained minimum required standard in water processing and production procedure.
DFTQC has initiated process for filing a case against owner of the company as per the provision in Food Act 2033. “As the owner is reportedly out of station, we told his son to relay the message that he needs to report to us within 10 days,” said Suman Dhital, deputy spokesperson at DFTQC.
There is an increasing trend of companies supplying contaminated and substandard water in the market lately. According to the monthly inspection report prepared by DFTQC, three out of six inspections, based on complaints from consumers, were found supplying substandard water over a month between mid-July and mid-August. One such case was found in the preceding month whereas two cases of contaminated and substandard water were found within a month from mid-February to mid-March.
On August 14, Himalayan Spring branded jars containing visible inconsumable elements inside the sealed bottle, were found in the secretarial office of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). Similarly, a jar of drinking water, bottled by Shree Krishna Beverages that contained a piece of plastic, was confiscated by DFTQC recently. The department has initiated filing cases against these firms.
DFTQC had filed cases against 29 firms found distributing contaminated and substandard water in the last fiscal. The number of registered cases in the first two months of this fiscal stand at nine and seven, respectively. Of the cases filed last fiscal, 22 of the firms were based in Kathmandu, three in Lalitpur and two each in Kavre and Bhaktapur. Almost 40 per cent of the total cases filed by DFTQC were related to bottled drinking water.
Yeti Beverages, City Mineral Water, Aqua Pacific Beverage, Aqua Energy, and United Water and Beverages were some companies found supplying contaminated and substandard water in the last fiscal year.