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New Guidelines for Packaged Drinking Water by FSSAI

Ashish M. Shaji

| Updated: Aug 19, 2017 | Category: FSSAI Food License

Guidelines for Packaged Drinking Water

Water is an important part of our life. An average human being requires at least 4 litres of water every day, but with water pollution rising, it is difficult to trust the water available for drinking today.

In order to ensure that the packaged water available in the market is safe for drinking, FSSAI (Food Safety & Standards Authority of India) has recently changed guidelines for packaged drinking water companies.

Why the guidelines for packaged drinking water are necessary?

FSSAI announced its plan to crack a whip on unlicensed packaging drinking water companies. Recently a news channel had reported that around 4000 FBOs dealing with packaged drinking water didn’t possess FSSAI License.

Therefore to maintain the purity of water and also to keep a check on unlicensed drinking water companies these guidelines were necessary.

New Guidelines for Packaged Drinking Water  

As per the new standards, the word “natural” has been added to the new sub-regulations. Going forward the label should read “Packaged drinking water” rather than “Packaged Natural drinking water”. According to the authorities, natural mineral water is unlikely to be consumed by humans. The water should be sold in packaged form by whatever names the company wants to sell for.

Also, as per the new amendments by FSSAI, the drinking water can be derived from various sources like local water supply, underground water, surface water, sea or any other consistent source of water.

However, the manufacturers of drinking water companies need to abide by below mentioned guidelines for packaged drinking water before selling it to the market. These guidelines would ensure that the water available is absolutely safe for drinking and cannot cause any harm.

Below are the New Guidelines Set by FSSAI:

 New Guidelines Set by FSSAI
  • Water collected from any kind of source should go through a proper treatment process that involves:
  1. decantation (to separate mixtures from the liquid),
  2. filtration,
  3. the combination filtration system,
  4. verification ( the process of mixing air with liquid),
  5. filtration with a membrane filter,
  6. cartridge filter,
  7. activated carbon filtration (a process to remove organic constituents and residual disinfectants from water),
  8. deionization (a process to remove mineral substances  and salt ions),
  9. re-mineralization (the opposite process of demineralization),
  10. Reverse osmosis (the process of removing impurities from water) etc.
  • Packaged water should be completely harmless by ensuring that the water is fully disinfected by the means of physical methods and chemical agents. This would ensure that the level of microorganisms present in water is at the accepted level of consumption.
  • Water collected from the sea should go through a desalinization process in which the salt ions present in the water can be separated.
  • Post-treatment, the water should be filled and sealed in bottles. Also, it should not come in contact with any other treatment process.
  • If the water treatment process involves remineralization, only approved minerals should be used in water that is food grade/pharma quality.

Guidelines for Packaged Drinking Water: Packaging & Labelling Guidelines

The packaging and labelling guidelines are as follows:

  • Only clean, hygienic, colorless, transparent and tamper-proof bottles shall be used.
  • Packaging bottles should be used as per the food grade plastic guidelines.
  • Packaging bottles should be able to pass through the color migration limits.
  • In the case of normal drinking water, the label should read “2.3.3 of FSS (Packaging & Labelling) Regulations, 2011: “PACKAGED DRINKING WATER”.
  • In case of mineral water, the label should read “2.3.3 of FSSAI (Packaging & Labelling) Regulations, 2011: “NATURAL MINERAL WATER”.
  • Every packaged bottle should have a following declaration “Crush bottles after use”.

The new guidelines also specify that the following microorganisms should not be present in water:

  • Escherichia coli (or the RMO tolerant bacteria);
  • Yeast and mold;
  • Faecal Streptococci, and Staphylococcus aureus
  • Coliform bacteria;
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosin;
  • Vibrio cholera, and V. para hemolytic us;
  • Salmonella Typhi;
  • Sulphate Reducing Anaerobes;
  • Salmonella and Shigella.

After the new regulations are in place, all the companies involved in manufacturing and packaging of water are required to submit all the details of their water processing unit so that the authorities can begin the approval process. Any violation of the safety standards would lead to legal actions against the company.

Guidelines for Packaged Drinking Water: Recent Update
In a recent announcement made by the authorities, the packaged drinking water companies are required to obtain two different licenses to operate. One license would be issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the other license would be issued by FSSAI itself. Companies operating with both the licenses confirms that their water is safe for drinking and has passed all the safety standards for filtration and standard quality packaging material is used that does not contaminate water in any way.

There will be surprise audits conducted by the authorities to ensure that the companies are operating as per the required standard. It is only after the testing and verification process of every ingredient in the packaged drinking water, FSSAI would issue a valid license. This would provide assurance to consumers that the water can be drunk without any doubts.

Another important recent change that has been made is that from 2020 packaged drinking water companies should ensure that their products should contain minerals like calcium and magnesium of at least 20-75 mg/litre.

Documents Required for FSSAI Registration by Drinking Water Companies

The following documents are required:

  • Authority letter duly signed by the authorized signatory;
  • Blueprint/layout plan of the manufacturing and processing unit mentioning each and every dimension of the place;
  • Property ownership documents like rent agreement, sale deed, etc.
  • FSMS (Food safety management system[1]) plan or certificate;
  • Complete details of all directors/partners/proprietors along with photo id and address proof of each and every person;
  • Form IX: proposal of persons by a company along with the board declaration;
  • Water analysis report for water packaging companies
  • Declaration form.

Steps to Get License

  • Login to the FSSAI website as a guest and fill out an application form A;
  • Make payment for FSSAI application at the food business operating office in your locality;
  • Once the payment is received and uploaded to the website, the person needs to fill Form B. While filling the form, you will be required to provide multiple declarations and resolutions;
  • Submit your application and follow up with the authorities for the status of the application;
  • In case, if the application is received back for edits, make sure you respond within 15 days, else the application would be rejected
  • The registration process takes 40 – 60 working days. During this process, the authorities will review your application and approve.

Conclusion

Guidelines for packaged drinking water were essential considering it’s concerned with the health of people. These guidelines are to be complied with by all the packaged water companies. 

Do you wish to register for FSSAI License? Are you looking for the Food License Advisory? Would you like to know about the FSSAI laws? Please feel free to contact Enterslice, India’s leading online legal and tax advisory firm.

Read our article: Implications of Non Compliance with the Provisions of FSSAI

Ashish M. Shaji

Ashish M. Shaji has done his graduation in law (BA. LLB) from CCS University. He has keen interests in doing extensive research and writing on legal subjects especially on corporate law. He is a creative thinker and has a great interest in exploring legal subjects.

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