CHENNAI: With quality inspection of bubble top water cans halted since the pandemic, Chennai residents complain that packaged water is now coming with illegal labels and that most cans are in an unusable condition.
Prior to Covid, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) used to inspect lorries carrying bubble top water cans and seize the unsafe cans. However, all the trucks are now going unchecked.
“Usually, I check three things – FSSAI certification, labelling, and quality of the water. The cans being supplied for the last one year do not have any of these things. Some cans are even chipped from bottom,” said B Chandran, showing the bubble top at his home. Plastic particles were seen floating in the water inside the can.
Also, a label mentioning the company name, date of manufacture, and the FSSAI, which is a must for all the bubble tops, is missing. “This means the water could have been filled from anywhere. Recently, we got two cans from which the water smelled like sewage. During a pandemic, unsafe drinking water can now lead to more diseases,” said Parthiban Raman, a resident of Egmore.
According to S Vijayaraj, a civil engineer, the manufacturers must sterilise the bubble top cans properly before re-filling. During the manufacturing process, the membrane used in the reverse osmosis process should be washed properly.
Date of manufacture missing
Many bubble top cans are kept in local shops for months, which people are not aware of. In some places, the labels are removed to conceal the date of manufacture, but water remains the same. When contacted, a senior official from the FSSAI said they would begin quality checks in a week.
Norms cut out
Manufacturers must sterilise the bubble top cans before re-filling. The membrane used in the reverse osmosis process should be washed. Both bubble top cans and sachets of water need certain degree of treatment before consumption