Pakistan lifts ban on three prominent mineral water brands
The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) had earlier ordered the closure of the production facilities and banned the sale of Springley, Kinley and Aquafina, claiming it found microbiological germs in samples of their bottled water.
The PFA also ordered the companies to remove all stock from the marketplace as their water was deemed unfit for human consumption.
Two out of the three brands are owned by multinational beverage giants. Aquafina is bottled by PepsiCo, while Kinley is bottled by Coca-Cola. Springley is owned by Qarshi industries.
The Supreme Court in Lahore, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, passed the order lifting the ban.
The court had received PFA Director General Noor-ul-Amin Mangel’s submission, that the PFA had collected samples from 23 bottled-water companies from across Lahore and sent them to the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) for analysis.
APP reported that subsequently, samples of these companies were again sent to two different laboratories to be tested. The water was then declared safe for drinking.
The Court, therefore, cleared these brands for the production and sale of their mineral water.
The bench also allowed the PFA to grant permission to 61 minor water filtration plants to resume operations if their water quality was found satisfactory.
14 companies failed
The PFA had surveyed Lahore — the capital of Punjab and second-most populous city of Pakistan —and collected water samples from across the city. These samples were sent to the PCSIR to be tested.
According to the lab reports, a total of 14 companies failed to meet the standards of the PFA for mineral water.
Apart from the three that have been banned, the 11 others that failed were Aqua Safe, Blu Water, Bottle Water, Kinz, Murree Sparkletts, Naimat, Nestle Pure Life, Pure Drinking Water, Sparkle, Sufi, and Zam.
Noor had also ordered the 11 to be relabelled “plain water” or “safe water” as “mineral water” was misleading.
The PFA had also collected samples from several government and private hospitals as well as from the Water and Sanitation Agency pumps. The water quality in 61 minor filtration plants in various parts of Lahore were found to be unsatisfactory and they were shut down.
According to a previously published study by the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), 84% of supplied water in Pakistan is contaminated, and 14% of the water supply in Sindh and Punjab is contaminated with arsenic.