"More Scrutiny Urged for Bottled Water"

"Federal regulation hasn't caught up with Americans' taste for bottled water.

The Food and Drug Administration, which oversees the $11.2 billion industry, doesn't keep track of companies that produce bottled water and doesn't require companies to report positive tests for contaminants, federal officials told a House hearing Wednesday. Consumer advocates testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight and investigations panel that bottlers should be required to disclose more information to consumers.

In a report released at the hearing, the Government Accountability Office urged the FDA to require bottlers to use labels that would, at the least, tell consumers how to get comprehensive information.

FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Joshua M. Sharfstein testified that the agency regulates bottled water as a food and doesn't know which companies among registered food firms make bottled water. Moreover, he said, the FDA has limited power to require more information on labels, and he put in a pitch for legislation that would boost the FDA's funding and authority for food safety."

Jane Zhang reports for the Wall Street Journal July 9, 2009.

Source: Wall St. Journal, 07/09/2009