UK: Minister told not all water is the same

By Sarah Diston | 13 July 2000

The quality of tap water in the UK may have improved considerably according to the Drinking Water Inspectorate's 10th annual report but Environment Minister Michael Meacher has angered the mineral water industry by saying tap water in the UK is "considerably better than bottled water."Applauding the improvements that have been made to the quality of tap water the Chairman of the Natural Mineral Water Information Service, Ian Hall said: "I strongly disagree with his comments, Mr Meacher seems to have overlooked the fact that the bottled water industry is supervised by the Food Standards Agency in conjunction with his own ministry."He continued: "Between them they regulate bottled waters rigorously and to high standards and there is no doubt that all water sold in the UK for drinking is safe, whether dispensed by tap or bottle. However, there is no justification for the unwarranted suggestion that bottled drinking water is in any way inferior in quality to the mains water supply."The UK mineral water market is worth nearly £500m with 945 million litres of bottled water being sold a year and the most popular style is natural mineral water.By law in the UK, nothing can be done to natural mineral waters which alters their natural characteristics, it is the only water guaranteed to be naturally wholesome, free from addictives and pollution free, except, in some cases, carbon dioxide to make them sparkle.Hall added: "In our view nothing is better than natural mineral water. It depends on personal choice whether you like your water naturally clean or chemically clean.""Consumers of natural mineral waters can be reassured they know what it is they are drinking, time after time." The Natural Mineral Water Information Service has now written to the MP making its views clear and offering him a full briefing.

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The quality of tap water in the UK may have improved considerably according to the Drinking Water Inspectorate's 10th annual report but Environment Minister Michael Meacher has angered the mineral water industry by saying tap water in the UK is "considerably better than bottled water."Applauding the improvements that have been made to the quality of tap water the Chairman of the Natural Mineral Water Information Service, Ian Hall said: "I strongly disagree with his comments, Mr Meacher seems to have overlooked the fact that the bottled water industry is supervised by the Food Standards Agency in conjunction with his own ministry."He continued: "Between them they regulate bottled waters rigorously and to high standards and there is no doubt that all water sold in the UK for drinking is safe, whether dispensed by tap or bottle. However, there is no justification for the unwarranted suggestion that bottled drinking water is in any way inferior in quality to the mains water supply."The UK mineral water market is worth nearly £500m with 945 million litres of bottled water being sold a year and the most popular style is natural mineral water.By law in the UK, nothing can be done to natural mineral waters which alters their natural characteristics, it is the only water guaranteed to be naturally wholesome, free from addictives and pollution free, except, in some cases, carbon dioxide to make them sparkle.Hall added: "In our view nothing is better than natural mineral water. It depends on personal choice whether you like your water naturally clean or chemically clean.""Consumers of natural mineral waters can be reassured they know what it is they are drinking, time after time." The Natural Mineral Water Information Service has now written to the MP making its views clear and offering him a full briefing.

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