The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has asked for suggestions and comments from the World Trade Organization (WTO) – Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) committee for the standards of drinking water through vending machines. A report by the FnB News says that it has asked for these suggestions to be given within a period of two months.
Safety Of Drinking Water In Vending Machines
The notification which has reportedly been sent by the FSSAI has mentioned a Food Safety and Standards’ clause that states, “Drinking water offered or sold through water vending machines shall be clear without any sediments, suspended particles and extraneous matter.” It also includes a revised clause that says, “No person shall manufacture, sell or exhibit for sale packaged drinking water except under the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Certification Mark. Provided that the requirement of Certification Mark of Bureau of Indian Standards shall not apply on the drinking water offered or sold through water vending machines.”
FnB News spoke to a source from the Maharashtra State Packaged Water Association who said, “It is a government rule to have a BIS certification mark on packaged drinking water. BIS is the primary thing to identify and conclude that the water is safe. Every manufacturer selling packaged drinking water is required to have BIS, whose overall cost goes upto Rs 1.5 lakh with weekly, monthly and yearly inspections. As plastic is harmful for human health, its use is not permitted. Hence, the use of stainless steel is compulsory in the plant. Whereas in case of vending machines, hardly any inspection is carried out. Thus, it cannot be 100 per cent hygienic.”
He added that, “if it is compulsory for a manufacturer selling packaged drinking water to have a certification mark, why is it not mandatory to have the same for water from vending machines?”