Q. What types of water can be bottled?
There are three types of water which can be bottled (packaged): natural mineral water, spring water and all other drinking water.
Q. What legislation covers bottled water?
Bottled water is covered by European Communities (Natural mineral waters, spring waters and other waters in bottles or containers) Regulations, 2007 (S.I. No. 225 of 2007). This legislation covers the definition of natural mineral water, spring water and 'other water', their exploitation, treatment, microbiological criteria, chemical contaminants, sales description, labelling and packaging.
Spring waters and 'other waters' must also comply with European Communities (Drinking water)(No. 2) Regulations, 2007 (S.I. No. 278 of 2007).
Q. What is natural mineral water?
Natural mineral waters are waters derived from a natural mineral water spring, which:
(1) have been extracted from the ground of a Member State and are recognized by the responsible authority of that Member State as satisfying the provisions of Schedule 1, Part 1 of S.I. No. 225 of 2007, or
(2) have been extracted from the ground of a third country and imported into the Community, and have been recognized by the responsible authority of a Member State pursuant to certification in the third country,
and are intended to be placed on the market in a Member State in bottle to containers
Q. What is Spring Water?
Spring waters are waters which:
- are intended for human consumption in their natural state
- are bottled at source
- satisfy the conditions of exploitation laid down in Schedule 4 of the regulations
- satisfy the microbiological requirements imposed in respect of natural mineral waters
- satisfy the labelling requirements imposed in respect of natural mineral waters
- have not undergone any treatment other than those referred to in paragraphs (1) to (3) of Regulation 5 of S.I. No. 225 of 2007
Q. What is the definition of 'Other Waters'?
'Other Waters' are those waters which:
- are intended for human consumption
- are not natural mineral waters as defined in S.I, No. 225 of 2007
- are not spring waters as defined in S.I. No. 225 of 2007
and are intended to be placed on the market in a Member State in bottles or containers
Q. Are there any Irish natural mineral waters?
Yes. There are three Irish natural mineral waters. To be recognised as a natural mineral water, the water and source must be assessed. In Ireland , the responsible authority for assessing and declaring a water to be a natural mineral water is the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). To date the NSAI has declared only three waters as natural mineral waters. These are:
||Place of Exploitation
||Cashel Road , Clonmel, County Tipperary
||Ballyferriter, County Kerry
||Pallas Street , Borrisoleigh, County Tipperary
Q. Where can I find information on other natural mineral waters?
The list of natural mineral waters, both within the EU and in Third Countries, recognised as such by the Member States, is published on the EU website
Q. Are there any standards for bottled water?
Yes. The following standards relate to bottled water:
IS 432:2010 Package Ground Water
The National Standards Authority of Ireland have produced a standard for packaged water (Irish Standard IS 432:2010).
This standard applies to Irish ground water in sealed containers where the water is piped directly from the source to the packaging facility and the water is distributed or sold for human consumption. The standard provides manufacturers of bottled water with specific requirements to assure the safety of bottled water for the consumer, in addition to providing best practice guidelines on the development and management of suitable sources for the three classes of packaged groundwater namely, natural mineral water, spring water or other groundwater. The types of permitted treatment, the quality criteria and the labelling requirements for the three classes of groundwater are specified.
This standard is available to purchase from the NSAI: I.L.I Standard Distributors, 42-44 Northumberland Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Tel: (01) 8576730.
Codex Alimentarius has published a number of Codes of Practice which are relevant to bottled water:
- Codex Standard for Natural Mineral Waters (108 - 1981 Rev 1 1997)
- Recommended International Code of Hygienic Practice for the Collecting, Processing and Marketing of Natural Mineral Waters ( CAC/RCP 33-1985)
- General Standard for Bottled/Packaged Drinking Waters (other than Natural Mineral Waters) ( 227-2001)
- Code of Hygienic Practice for Bottled/Packaged Drinking Waters(other than Natural Mineral Waters) (CAC/RCP 48-2001)
The above standards are available for download from the Codex website at: http://www.codexalimentarius.net/standard_list.asp
Note: The WHO has asked Codex to consider revising its standard for natural mineral water in particular in relation to undesirable substances e.g. nitrates, boron.
Q. Are there any restrictions on the importation of bottled water from outside the EU?
No. There are no restrictions on the importation of bottled water from outside the EU, other than the bottled water meets the legal requirements described above and are labelled in accordance with EU rules including where appropriate those contained in Directive 2000/13/EC on the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs. Health Certificates are not required.
Q. What are the hygiene requirements for bottled water?
Production of bottled water in Ireland is subject to compliance with European Communities (Hygiene of foodstuffs) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 369 of 2006) which transposes Regulation 852/2004/EC on the hygiene of foodstuffs.
Last reviewed: 8/2/2011