Regulations Governing the Production and Sale of Bottled Water in Central Minnesota

When it comes to bottled water, there is no reason to believe that it is any safer than tap water. Tap water and bottled water are both regulated by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regularly tests public tap water to ensure its safety.

The EPA requires that information be made public about the possible health effects of contaminants in drinking water, the source of the water, and regulatory compliance. On the other hand, bottled water is regulated as a food product by the U. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).Bottled water labels must comply with legal requirements regarding their source, content, quality, and uses. These requirements are established to ensure that labels accurately reflect the product.

For example, if a bottle label says “spring water”, then the water must come from a spring. In these cases, it is especially important to use bottled water to mix infant formula or give water to babies under one year old. Fluoride is an essential component in reducing tooth decay and is important for everyone from babies who have their first teeth to adults. Adding fluoride to public water is an effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health. In Minnesota, most municipal public water systems contain fluoride; however, bottled water may not contain fluoride or may not have an optimal level of fluoride if it does.

If you buy bottled water, it's important to find out how much fluoride it contains; contact the bottling company for this information. MDH does not recommend reusing single-use plastic bottles as reused baby bottles can be contaminated with bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. Reusing bottles can expose people to these unhealthy microorganisms; empty bottles must be recycled to reduce the amount of garbage in our landfills. The FDA considers bottled water to have an unlimited shelf life if it is produced correctly and not opened; however, some companies add a date to their products due to concerns about taste and smell rather than safety. Bottled water should be stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight. State law requires that the Division of Food Safety and Recreation take samples of bottled water produced in Wisconsin each year and issue a report; for specific results and data, see the annual reports at the bottom of this page. On May 13, 1996, new regulations on bottled water from the Federal Food and Drug Administration took effect. Artesian well water draws a confined aquifer in which the water level is at a certain height above the top of the aquifer.

In Wisconsin, most community water supplies that exceed radio standards draw from deep sandstone aquifers in a narrow band extending from Green Bay to Illinois' border. Water can also pick up naturally occurring radios or artificial radionuclides as it flows to its source. The new regulations aimed to alleviate consumer confusion about different types of bottled waters on the market by providing standard definitions for terms such as artesian water, groundwater, mineral water, purified water, carbonated bottled water, spring water, sterile water, well water, and others. Bottled waters must be processed, packaged, shipped, and stored in a safe and hygienic manner and be truthfully and accurately labeled. Radioactivity can also be present in waters due to erosion of natural deposits or discharges from fertilizer or aluminum factories. If coliform bacteria are found in a sample of water, further tests are done to see if fecal or pathogenic bacteria are present.

The process of analyzing samples begins with an analysis of gross alpha particles which measures total radioactivity emitted by waters. The FDA has established current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) specifically for bottled waters; these include labeling requirements for source content quality and uses. Bottled waters must also contain no added ingredients except safe antimicrobial agents; for example those from municipal sources must be labeled as such unless they are processed enough to be labeled as distilled or purified waters. For more information on local tapwater safety search for your local quality report on our Consumer Confidence Reports webpage. Additionally state law requires that the Division of Food Safety and Recreation take samples of bottled waters produced in Wisconsin each year and issue a report; for specific results and data see the annual reports at the bottom of this page.