Safety and Quality
Consumers can trust that bottled water is safe because of the extensive regulatory requirements at the federal and provincial levels. For added quality assurance, consumers should select bottled water produced by members of the CBWA. The CBWA standards exceed those of the federal and provincial governments. In addition, bottled water produced by CBWA members is protected by a multi-barrier approach, which may include steps such as source protection and monitoring, as well as multi-stage filtration including micro filtration, reverse osmosis, distillation, ozonation, the application of ultraviolet light or other appropriate processing measures.
Consumers can be assured that bottled water produced by CBWA members does not contain E. coli, coliforms, giardia or cryptosporidium because under the CBWA model code members are required to use water only from approved sources, to bottle the water under very strict hygienic procedures, and to regularly test the water. Moreover, CBWA members must adhere with existing federal guidelines regarding the presence of bacteria, and according to these strict guidelines, bottled water must not contain any coliforms or E. coli bacteria.
As a product of nature, water contains some naturally present heterotrophic bacteria (HPC). These harmless flora are found in many everyday food and beverage products. The presence of these bacteria is also normal in bottled water and does not represent a health risk. In fact, there has never been a reported illness associated with HPC.
Bottled water is regulated as a food product under the federal Food and Drugs Act. Bottled water companies must adhere to quality standards, good manufacturing practices and labelling requirements. The federal government inspectors of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regularly audit the operations of all bottled water companies to ensure compliance.
In addition to the extensive federal regulatory requirements, the provinces also regulate bottled waters. The most significant responsibility of the provinces is approving sources of water, including drilling practices, borehole construction practices, and allowable rates of production and watershed protection.
CBWA bottlers are subject to a third level of regulation involving third-party inspections, water testing and analysis, and adherence to the CBWA model code.
- As a condition of membership, bottler must pass an annual, unannounced plant inspection administered by an independent, internationally recognized organization. This inspection audits quality and testing records, reviews all areas of plant operation from source through finished product, and checks adherence to the CBWA model code and its code of ethics. The CBWA code of ethics adheres to a philosophy of sustainable development, environmental protection, and collaboration with local communities in the management of the water resource.
- A second condition of membership is that bottlers pass an annual water analysis administered by an independent government certified laboratory and regularly conduct microbial testing by qualified personnel.
The CBWA model code is a quality assurance program with more extensive requirements than federal and provincial authorities. For these reasons, bottled water produced by CBWA members is always top quality and safe!
However, bottled water, like other food products, should be stored in a cool, dry environment away from sunlight and chemicals such as household cleaning products and away from solvents such as gasoline, paint thinners and other toxic materials.