Quality & Regulatory
The bottled water industry promotes effective and strict legal frameworks that ensure bottled water is always a safe choice.
The global regulatory reference document for packaged waters is provided by the Codex Alimentarius whose decision-making body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission – a body established by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade – adopted the following standards:
- Standard for natural mineral waters –CXS108-1981
- General Standard for bottled/packaged drinking waters –CXS 227-2001
- Code of Hygienic Practice for bottled/packaged drinking waters (other than natural mineral waters) – CXC 48-2001
- Recommended International Code of Hygienic Practice for the collecting, processing and marketing of natural mineral waters –CXC 33-1985
The standards define three categories of packaged waters: natural mineral waters (CXS 108-1981), ‘waters defined by origin’ and ‘prepared waters’ (CXS 227-2001).
When developing its standards for packaged waters, the Codex Alimentarius Commission took into account the World Health Organization ‘Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality’ which form the authoritative basis for the setting of national regulations and standards for water safety in support of public health.
ICBWA has been recognized with NGO Observer status before the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and contributes to the work of the Codex committees, where relevant.
Legislation in individual countries or regions distinguishes categories of waters and how they are defined. ICBWA believes consumers should never have concerns over the quality and safety of the finished product, regardless of origin.
Production must comply with food safety regulations and these processes are also guided by industry good practice and guidelines. Source waters are rigorously monitored from the source and in all production steps, making bottled water one of the most frequently safety-checked food and drink products.
In order to assist producers to implement strict food safety requirements, many of our members have developed Good Hygiene Guidelines. These guides, known as model codes, comprise a detailed set of recommendations for good manufacturing. Preventive measures and critical control points are outlined for every aspect of production, from water resource management and the protection of catchment areas to piping, treatment, bottling and distribution.
You can find these model codes here:
- Australian Bottled Water Institute – ABWI Model Code
- Canadian Bottled Water Association – CBWA Model Bottled Water Code
- Latin American Bottled Water Association – IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice (see below)
- International Bottled Water Association – IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice
- Natural Mineral Waters Europe – Guide to Good Hygienic Practices for Packaged Water In Europe
- Watercoolers Europe – Code of Good Hygiene Practice for Watercooler Companies