The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sushma in water safety pledge

New Delhi, Feb. 20: Union health minister Sushma Swaraj today said her ministry would monitor enforcement of the new safety standards for bottled drinking water which will come into effect from April 1.

“The Central Committee for Food Studies is looking at the issue. A draft notification has been issued inviting comments from all quarters before the food adulteration laws are amended,” Swaraj told the Lok Sabha.

The amendments to the law include fixing the limits of pesticide residue at 0.0001 mg per litre for individual pesticides and 0.0005 mg per litre for the whole. “The analysis shall be conducted by using the internationally-established testing methods,” the minister said. Tests are to be conducted for 32 pesticides.

Congress MP Margaret Alva said bottled water served on trains is contaminated. “Who is going to take responsibility for it'” she asked.

According to a report recently brought out by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), pesticide residue has been found in several brands of bottled drinking water.

Swaraj said the notification issued by the government makes it mandatory for manufacturers to procure a “no-objection” certificate from the Central or state government authorities. “After getting this certificate, the manufacturers can apply for a licence from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS),” she said.

“Even before the CSE report came, BIS standards were scheduled for a review in May this year,” she added.

The CSE’s testing methods were more sensitive than that of the BIS, Swaraj said.

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