Nestle has been forced to close down a water-bottling plant in Brazil, according to press reports. Geneva daily Le Temps said yesterday (29 November) that authorities have forced Nestle to close the plant in the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais, charging the company with illegally altering the water's composition.

Nestle was exploiting a natural mineral water concession from the San Lorenzo springs in the state which are believed to contain therapeutic properties.

The Swiss firm told the newspaper that the high iron content in the water rendered it "not fit for consumption" and it therefore removed the iron and added mineral salts prior to bottling.

The Brazilian National Department of Mineral Production said the procedure was illegal and stopped Nestle from selling its Pure Life-brand bottled water, which has a 20% share of the Brazilian market, the newspaper said.

Nestle contends that its process for "artificial water treatment" was approved by Brazilian authorities, as long as the label specifies that the bottle contains "purified water with added salts."