Asked to comment on the illegal bottling uncovered by the police in Johannesburg recently, South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA) executive director, Charlotte Metcalf, said that bottled water fraud was prevalent in several other countries on the continent and in Asia. To her knowledge this is the first reported case in South Africa.
‘SANBWA is concerned about the brazenness of the scheme and grateful that the South African Police had uncovered this fraudulent operation. A SANBWA member bottling site is a hygienic, professional space and would never look like that shown in videos released to the media by the police,’ she stressed.
Metcalf pointed out that the SANBWA logo reproduced on the fake bottles was a bad reproduction. This could be used by consumers to distinguish between the authentic and fraudulent product.
SANBWA would like to ensure consumers that the authentic SANBWA logo offers
- Seal of quality and safety
- Verified adherence to legal, hygiene, food safety, quality end environmental requirements
- Adherence to labelling legislation
- A protected and sustainable water source.
‘Bottled water in South Africa must adhere to stringent requirements set out by the Department of Health, as bottled water in our country is classified as “food”,’ Metcalf asserts.
‘Membership of SANBWA is voluntary but strictly controlled. It comprises bottlers of all classes of bottled water whose primary concern is the health, safety and pleasure of their consumers. They therefore willingly conform to the extremely stringent safety and quality measures contained in the SANBWA Bottled Water Standard.
‘A single standard covering legal, hygiene, food safety and quality, and environmental requirements, the SANBWA Bottled Water Standard benchmarks favourably against international standards.
‘Every year, SANBWA’s third party auditors audits all members to ensure that their source, bottling facility, final product and every aspect of their bottling process adheres to SANBWA’s stringent standards. SANBWA also randomly samples member products from the shelves on a monthly basis and has them tested for harmful agents.
‘SANBWA is committed to environmental stewardship. Members are required to comply with the association’s environmental vision. This includes many measures to ensure source sustainability and protection, minimising water use, energy efficiency, solid waste minimisation, and supporting post-consumer recycling initiatives.
‘Both SANBWA and the company that owned the brand being ripped off by the fraudsters will co-operate fully with the investigation, in order to protect the industry’s reputation and the SANBWA logo,’ she concludes.