The Australian drinks industry has today (27 March) lodged an application seeking permission to voluntarily add fluoride - at a maximum of 1.5mg a litre - to packaged waters. 

The application to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) was submitted by the Australian Beverages Council and the Australasian Bottled Water Institute.

Tony Gentile, chief executive of the Australian Beverages Council, said: "Fluoride is not currently a permitted additive in packaged waters and, even where naturally present, is usually at such low levels that its presence cannot be claimed."

If approved, bottlers will be able to market and develop fluoridated water brands. In the US, where such voluntary addition is permitted, around 5% of packaged waters are fluoridated. "The choice will be the consumers' to make," added Gentile.