Several batches of bottled water have been pulled from supermarkets in Ireland, following fresh concerns about their safety, the country's food watchdog has confirmed.

Batches of water were removed from shops in late November, a spokesperson for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) confirmed to just-drinks today (15 December), following an investigative report in the Irish Independent newspaper.

Bottles were pulled due to the presence of coliforms, potentially dangerous bacteria, which were discovered during "routine testing", the FSAI spokesperson said. 

The news emerges barely two weeks after the FSAI publicly told bottled water firms operating in Ireland that they must improve their quality standards, following a series of contamination problems.

The FSAI told just-drinks that the recent recall was not made public because there was not deemed a sufficient risk to public health. It has declined to name the brand or producer.  

Coliforms were present in 6% of bottled waters tested by the FSAI between September and December last year, according to a report issued by the agency in early December.

It said the presence "is an indication of possible faecal contamination", and "raises concerns regarding the standards of hygiene of the source or in the bottling process".

Industry body Beverage Council of Ireland (BCI) has agreed to work with food safety officials to review the National Standard for packaged Water. A meeting is scheduled for 21 and 22 January 2009.

The BCI said earlier this month: "The members of the bottled water sector of the BCI reiterate their commitment to the highest quality standards of ensuring the safety and quality of bottled water for consumers."