Crackdown on ‘herbal’ water units continues, 57 sealed

As many as 57 unlicensed units producing ‘flavoured’ or ‘herbal’ water were closed by Tiruvallur district Food Safety and Drug Administration Department on Wednesday.

Ten units in Red Hills, five in Sholavaram, three in Madhavaram, eight in Ambattur, seven in Porur, thirteen in Poonamallee, two in Tiruvallur, two in Tiruvottiyur and one each in Avadi, Gummidipoondi and Poondi were among those served closure notice on Wednesday, said Senthil Murugan, Designated Officer of Tiruvallur district. “After we issued show cause notice, one unit managed to get ISI certification,” said Mr. Murugan.

On Saturday, the crackdown began in Arumbakkam, Koyambedu, Kodungaiyur, T. Nagar, Tondiarpet, Perambur and Kosapet in Chennai district.

Of the 150 units in the metropolitan area that sell drinking water in the guise of ‘herbal’ or ‘flavoured’ water, many have been sealed now. At least 36 units in Kancheepuram district will be closed this week.

The operators who get a no-objection certificate or a product approval from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India will be permitted to continue operations. Most of the water in such units has been found to have exceeded the limits in terms of colony forming units (CFU) per ml. The permissible limit is 20 CFU.

A large number of residents in the city use the ‘herbal’ water sold in 20-litre bubble top cans resembling the ones sold by packaged drinking water units with BIS licence.

NGT’s directive

The action against the units has been initiated based on a directive of the National Green Tribunal and orders from the Commissioner of Food Safety and Drug Administration.

Members of the Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association have been protesting against the unlicensed units selling ‘flavoured’ water’ for the past few months.

A substantial number of the 150 units selling herbal or flavoured water in the metropolitan area have been shut down

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