GOVT BOTTLES UP WATER COS OVER SAFETY FEARS

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The government has disallowed production by over 200 bottled water plants, including those of popular brands like Bisleri, Kingfisher and Coca Cola's Kinley, due to a violation of revised pesticide norms, or unsatisfactory performance.

"Around 213 units which have either not submitted a test report conforming to the new norms, or are performing below the laid-down quality standards have been issued a 'stop-marking' order and can therefore not manufacture bottled water," a BIS source said.

The units which were debarred from using the 'ISI mark' and not allowed to produce bottled water include at least three which are manufacturing and selling the Kinley brand, eight Bisleri and two Kingfisher. Consumer affairs minister Sharad Yadav confirmed the action taken, saying, "There will be no compromise on quality and human health. Companies not meeting the laid-down norms will not be spared."

Sources said 'stop marking order' has been issued against Hindustan Coca Cola beverages in Guwahati, Narmada drinks, Bilaspur and Brahmanand mineral water in Jamshedpur - all of the Kinley brand. Action has also been taken against two manufacturers of Kingfisher brand, Fantastic Aqua products, Satara and King Aqua, Guwahati.

Of the 1,018 licences issued, only 802 units deposited samples in line with the new norms. The 'stop-marking order' has been imposed on 158 units due to non-submission of test report on pesticide residues. It has also been imposed on another 55 units on grounds of unsatisfactory performance.

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