Excess bacteria found in barrels of drinking water

BARRELED water from several drinking water companies, including major producers Wahaha, Robust and C’estbon, has been found to contain excess bacteria in tests carried out by China’s top food safety watchdog.

Almost 23 percent of purified drinking water was found to be substandard out of 2,088 batches checked by the China Food and Drug Administration, most failing the tests for excess bacteria.

The tests were conducted in the second half of this year and the results were announced by the administration on Friday.

A batch of Wahaha drinking water in 18.9-liter barrels produced in north China’s Hebei Province in July and sold in Beijing was found to contain 160 CFU (colony-forming units) per milliliter, eight times China’s national standard.

A CFU is an estimate of the number of viable bacteria or fungal cells in a sample.

A batch of Robust 18.9-liter barrels produced in Shijiazhuang, Hebei’s capital, and sold in the city was found to have 120 CFU per ml, while a batch of C’estbon 18.9-liter barrels produced in Hebei in July and sold in Beijing was found to contain a massive 29,000 CFU per ml.

All the water has since been removed from sale and customers offered refunds, the Beijing and Hebei food and drug administrations said.

Wahaha said it had recalled the tainted batch of its drinking water and ended cooperation with a water station found to have problems in transport and storage that it blamed for the contamination.

It said it had also enhanced the management of transport and storage throughout its network.

Robust and C’estbon were not available for comment yesterday.

The administration had checked 4,881 batches of beverages and drinking water, covering 3,192 producers in 31 provinces, and found 791 batches were substandard in some way.

The administration said it had ordered food watchdogs where the substandard water and beverages were found to recall products and enhance checks.

You can return to the main Market News page, or press the Back button on your browser.