Photo: Sébastien Bozon Archives Agence France-Presse Non-compliant practices were revealed in the press on Monday by the world number one in mineral water Nestlé Waters, which, taking the lead, assured that they were no longer used in its brands (Perrier, Vittel, Hépar and Contrex).
France Media Agency in Paris
The use of prohibited treatments to purify mineral waters, recognized on Monday by the Nestlé group, concerns around a third of brands in France, reported Tuesday the daily Le Monde and Radio France.
“The work revealed that nearly 30% of commercial designations undergo non-compliant processing”, write the two media, referring to the “conclusions” of a report from the General Business Inspectorate (IGAS), submitted to the government in July 2022.
“The [IGAS] mission has no doubt that the proportion of 30% (of the commercial names concerned) underestimates the phenomenon and that all ore carriers are concerned”, it is indicated in this report, assure Le Monde and Radio France.
At the request of AFP, IGAS did not react immediately.
“This report contains data subject to business secrecy,” a government source told AFP on Tuesday.
This source believes “that no health risk linked to the quality of bottled water has been identified at this stage”.
In its investigation, the public radio station Radio France nevertheless underlines that according to IGAS inspectors, if “overall”, the “level of conformity is high for bottled water, it would not be prudent to conclude that the health risk, particularly the microbiological risk, is under perfect control.”
The government source confirmed to AFP that an “inspection mission of natural mineral water and spring water packaging plants” in France was entrusted to IGAS, following an approach by Nestlé in the summer of 2021 which had acknowledged to the authorities “non-compliant processing practices on [its] production sites”.
These practices were revealed Monday in the press by the world number one in mineral water Nestlé Waters, which, taking the lead, assured that they were no longer used in its brands (Perrier , Vittel, Hépar and Contrex).
Authorized for tap water or “water made drinkable by treatment”, purification techniques such as activated carbon filters or ultraviolet are prohibited for natural mineral waters or spring waters.
According to Le Mondeand Radio France, the affair began at the end of 2020, when a former employee of the company Sources Alma, which produces around thirty bottled waters in France including Cristaline, Saint-Yorre and Vichy Célestins, reported to the fraud repression (DGCCRF) “suspicious practices in a group factory”.
This investigation by the DGCCRF led to a preliminary investigation into acts of deception, specify the two media.
Contacted by AFP, the Alma group had not made any comments at midday.
Another judicial investigation has been opened targeting the Nestlé Waters group for regulatory breaches, the government source confirmed.