The Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (England) Regulations 2016

Many consumers find a need for the convenience and portability of bottled water and water beverages. In fact, they now play an important and healthy role in our nation’s hydration. The term “bottled water” actually applies to a number of different beverage products, such as, spring water, purified water, mineral water, and packaged water. There are mainly two styles of bottled water: sparkling, and still water. Sparkling or carbonated water is usually consumed as a refreshment beverage, while still or non-sparkling waters are consumed as drinking water. Consumers across the world choose bottled water as an alternative to other packaged beverages when they are looking for an unsweetened, clean tasting, natural product. They also choose bottled water because they are not always satisfied with the aesthetic qualities (e.g., taste, odor, color) of their tap water.

In Australia The Australasian Bottled Water Institute (ABWI) is the dedicated water division of the Australian Beverages Council, and the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters. ABWI is committed to working with the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (FSANZ), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, as well as with state governments to set stringent standards for the safety and quality of water products. Additionally, ABWI requires member bottlers to adhere to the ABWI Bottled Water Model Code, which mandates additional standards and practices that, in some cases, are more stringent than federal and state regulations.

In Europe all bottled waters are strictly regulated under EU law. Specific legislation applies to the three different categories of bottled water.

Natural Mineral Water: Directive 2009/54/EC on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters
Spring Water: Regulated partly by Directive 2009/54/EC on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters. Directive 98/83/EC on the quality of water intended for human consumption.
Bottled Drinking Water:Directive 98/83/EC relating to the quality of water intended for human consumption.

In 2007 England as well  amended Regulations governing The Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water to govern the exploitation, bottling and marketing of natural mineral water, spring water and other bottled drinking water.  The following measures are being discussed:

• Consolidation of existing legislation which has been amended a number of times to reflect changes made by EU legislation;
• Removal of unnecessary burdens on business which are not laid down in the overarching EU legislation (referred to as “gold plating”)
• Replacement of criminal offences with administrative sanctions (i.e. improvement notices) to enable local authorities to take a more proportionate enforcement approach; and
• Application of new monitoring requirements for radioactive substances specified in Directive 2013/51/EURATOM
England is further amending The Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (England) Regulations 2016 (the 2016 Regulations) which will revoke the 2007 Regulations when they come into force in early 2016.
The 2016 Regulations will   transpose new requirements for businesses to test and monitor for radioactive substances in drinking water in order to protect public health.  Directive 2013/51/Euratom imposes new requirements on Member States to:
• ensure that monitoring for radon and tritium is undertaken and that the Indicative Dose is calculated for drinking water, (except in the instance that it is established that any of the radioactive substances are not likely to be present; or where representative surveys, monitoring data or other reliable information indicate that the radioactive substances will remain below their parametric values);
• undertake monitoring in accordance with specified minimum frequencies for radioactive substances where it has been established that monitoring is required;
• define the frequency of monitoring for natural radionuclides where it is demonstrated that the concentration is stable;
• check whether the values of radioactive substances in drinking water comply with the parametric values stipulated in the Directive;
• (in the event of non-compliance with the parametric values for radioactive substances) assess whether that non-compliance poses a risk to human health which requires action by further investigation of artificial and naturally occurring radionuclides and take remedial action where necessary to improve the quality of the water in order to protect human health.
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