Government inspection reports reveal complaints with bottled water

Bottled water that smells like "urine," tastes like "old socks" or reeks of "diarrhea."  These were some of the complaints listed in four years' worth of government inspection reports obtained by CBC News.

CBC News noted that the reports revealed that “Dasani, owned by Coca-Cola; Real Canadian natural spring water, owned by Loblaws, one of Canada's largest grocery-store chains; and Refreshe spring water, from the Safeway grocery chain, are just some of the brands whose water has been hit with complaints over foul smells, tastes or unusually high levels of sulphur.”

Some businesses were found to be bottling water in "filthy conditions." The article notes that “Toronto-area operator Canadian Shield Natural Spring Water was pumping water behind an amusement park with no safety testing facilities, bathroom or hand washing station for employees, one of the inspection reports found.”

CBC News reviewed nearly 800 pages of Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reports from 2014 until 2018, obtained under the Access to Information Act.

The Council of Canadians has been a longtime advocate of ditching bottled water in favour of publicly-provided tap water. The bottled water industry works hard to undermine our faith in public water despite the fact that Canada has one of the best public drinking water systems in the world.

Bottled water companies take water and package it into a commodity, selling each bottle at huge profit. Even worse, the plastic bottles pollute landfills for thousands of years.

In order to persuade people to spend 200-3,000 times what they spend on tap water, bottled water companies advertise their products as a “safer and healthier alternative.” Nothing can be further from the truth. Regulated as a food product under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, bottled water isn’t tested nearly as much as tap water. Municipal tap water is tested continuously, in some areas as often as several times a day.

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