Bottled Water

  • Posted by CERC India
  • Posted in

Of 13 brands of bottled water tested, only three brands conformed to all the specifications. Saiganga (Ahmednagar) was rated the best, followed by Bisleri (Baroda) and Bailley (Mumbai).

January – February 1998



Of 13 brands of bottled water tested, only three brands conformed to all the specifications. Saiganga (Ahmednagar) was rated the best, followed by Bisleri (Baroda) and Bailley (Mumbai).


  • Arsenic was found in a range of 0.01 ppm to 0.1 ppm in Yes. This was much higher than the maximum limit of 0.05 ppm stipulated by the IS and PFA. (Arsenic is a cumulative poison). It is interesting to note that the WHO has stricter standards of 0.01 ppm (max) against the 0.05 ppm(max) limits of the IS the, the PFA and Codex.
  • Bailley (Surat) had a high level of aluminum (0.2 ppm), against a maximum limit of 0.03 ppm set by the IS (Aluminium is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.)
  • Yes was also on the borderline in fluoride content. It had a level of 104 ppm against a maximum limit of 1.5 ppm, set by the IS and the PFA.


  • All mineral waters are drinking water (except for the presence of more minerals), whereas all drinking waters are not mineral water. But no distinct differences were found in our testing between mineral and drinking water brands. Going by the minimum requirement (absent in India) of 250 ppm of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) set by the US FDA for mineral water, only Golden Eagle (276 ppm) and Yes (270 ppm) can be called ‘Mineral Water’ as per their claims. It is interesting to find that Trupthi, a drinking water brand, has a high content of TDS (299 ppm), in spite of no such claim. The rest of the brands were found to have as low a TDS as 43 ppm (in drinking water) and 70ppm (in mineral water).


  • Of 8 brands of bottled drinking water considered for testing, 5 brands carried floating particles, visible to the naked eye, Only Bailley (Mumbai), Bailley (Surat) and Bisleri (Baroda) were found free from particles.
  • 3 out of 5 mineral water brands were also found to have foreign particles. Saiganga and Yes did not have any particles. Nirantar had particles in 19 out of 21 bottles taken for testing. So it was excluded from chemical and sensory tests.


  • Our sensory evaluations found Golden Eagle better than the rest, while Bisleri (Bangalore) was the least-preferred by our panellists.

Single Brands

  • Our test results reveal that the same brands like Bisleri and Bailley bottled in different parts of the country show much disparity in their composition and quality. This raises the issue whether they can be sold under a single brand name, or be distinguished.


  • There are no statutory standards for bottled drinking water in India. The PFA has statutory standards only for mineral water.
  • The IS and the PFA standards for lead (max 0.05 ppm0 are very high compared to the Codex and WHO limits of 0.01 ppm (max).


  • None of the brands was free from bacteria, though all were found to be non-pathogenic (non disease-causing). This disputes the label claims of Golden Eagle, Nirantar and Trupthi of being “germ free” and “(100%) bacteria free”.


  • Labelling information on source and composition on dissolved solids was missing from all the brands.
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