Health Ministry Slaps Ban on 73 Drinking Water Brands
By San Yamin Aung 25 February 2015
RANGOON— The Ministry of Health’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that scores of drinking water brands across the country will be banned from market shelves.
Over the weekend, the ministry released a list of 73 brands that have failed to submit themselves to a quality assessment by the FDA, which will now order manufacturers to cease production.
“The public wants to know which drinking water brands have been examined by us and which ones they can drink safely, so we announced the list which don’t have a recommendation from us,” Dr. Tun Zaw, director of the FDA’s Food Safety Department, told The Irrawaddy. “We have already asked the state and divisional FDA committees to prohibit businesses in the list from production.”
Tun Zaw said that the list was compiled in a countrywide market survey conducted by the FDA at the end of last year. Drinking water manufacturers are required to register their products and agree to inspections by the FDA, which evaluates water quality, factory infrastructure, staff health, and production procedures.
“There are over 750 brands in the country which we have inspected and approved,” he said, adding that the FDA inspects drinking water factories at least once per year. “To speak frankly, [the banned businesses] didn’t agree to inspections because they didn’t believe they would pass. If they believed in the quality of their product, they would apply.”
Irrawaddy Division had the highest number of brands failing to agree to FDA inspections, with 25 manufacturers to be instructed to cease production, followed by Tenasserim Division with 16 and Sagaing Division with 10.
Nyi Thway, a member of the Ye Social Society in Southern Mon State, said that the three brands listed in the ministry’s announcement were available in local market places but were not widely consumed, based on the products’ established reputation.
“We know some of them are no good, because the water bottles smelled bad and sometimes had sediment mixed in them,” he said.
A full list of the drinking water brands flagged by the ministry is below.