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EU: New mineral water regualations may cost producers

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The European Union is to lay down maximum concentrations for 15 natural substances in natural  mineral water that it says may pose long term health risks in high concentrations.

The move, in which labelling provisions are also to be strengthened, may mean some producers of natural mineral water will be forced to invest substantial amounts of money to ensure compliance with strengthened rules.

If a natural mineral water does not comply it will be required to undergo an authorised separation treatment and some producers will need to invest heavily in treatment processes. In these cases they will have until 2006 to bring their products into line, said the European Commission said.

Existing EU rules guarantee freedom from contamination but the EU's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health approved the new regulations, saying that still stronger regulations are needed. No further approval from EU ministers or MEPs is required.


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