Major water brands pulled off the shelf

By: Lakshmi Kothaneth

MUSCAT: Some of the leading bottled drinking water brands have been warned by the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources for not meeting the required specifications. The brands are Oasis (imported), Tanuf, El Jabal El Akhdar and Salsabeel. Oman Oasis received endless number of calls ever since the list went viral on WhatsApp. “Our call centre was busy answering queries. Oman Oasis is not in the list. We strictly comply with the standards regulated by the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources,” said an official at the Oman Oasis.

Specialists from the food control department had sent samples from the water bottles to labs and the results proved that these samples do not meet the specification (GSO 1025–2009). The lab detected higher level of potassium bromate and the listed brands were asked to be removed from the shelves. The bottles concerned have already been removed from the shelves.

According to Haithem al Khzmi, Deputy Director-General for Health Affairs at Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, potassium bromate permissibility in bottled drinking water is 10 part of million. “This is our Omani standard. Products which are non-compliant to the standards are warned. This is a routine ministry practice. We regularly check samples of water,” said Al Khzmi.

“We want the companies to be alert. At present the production dates have been specified and these bottles are being pulled out off the shelves. Bottles produced on other dates are available in the market are cleared. The brands that had been mentioned will be available in the market,” added Al Khzmi.

He said some of the companies export bottled water to other countries. “It is better we alert them to the specifications. It is better than other countries banning them,” pointed out Al Khzmi. The announcement caused a stir as consumers began to scan the market for the brands which were included in the banned ones and others which are not included. “Why were the companies not monitored before because we have been drinking water from these companies all these days,” conveyed a consumer.

Then there were others who took it as just a new development as they were mainly dependent on tap water supplied by the municipality. Ali Saud al Mashari said, “Some bottled water are salty. I just go by the taste. I use a filter at home. I feel safer knowing that the water quality is looked into by the government. The filter company comes regularly for service.”

“We have a filter for household purposes and when there are functions we opt for bottled waters,” said Ali Riyami.

“It is really a concern as many of the brands banned by the ministry are in common use. We need more specifications for which brand we should use for safe water,” an expatriate resident said.

“We hope those products which exceed the limits of chemicals are immediately pulled out of the markets. We are also expecting a clear picture on safe brands with regard to household bottled water suppliers,” he said.

SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER

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