Helena Lyng Blak
6 weeks ago

Nestlé Mineral Water Not Guaranteed to be of “Sanitary Quality”

A look into the most recent–and some previous–controversies surrounding the food and drink conglomerate.
NeydtStock / Shutterstock.com
NeydtStock / Shutterstock.com

On Thursday, Le Monde and French radio and television network France Info reported that the French Agency for Food, Environmental, and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) had found Nestlé’s mineral waters are not guaranteed to be of “sanitary quality” and that “extended monitoring” of the water was necessary.

The findings were noted in a report submitted to the French Ministry of Health in October 2023. The ministry reportedly declined Le Monde’s request for comment due to an “ongoing judicial investigation”.

The reported findings include traces of PFAs, pesticides, and E. coli in multiple boreholes at various French sites that bottle several brands of mineral water, including Perrier and Vittel.

In February of this year, the international consumer organization Foodwatch filed a lawsuit in France against Nestlé Waters for using illegal methods to disinfect mineral water.

According to Foodwatch, the products were “probably sold across Europe”.

In 2008, the company was sued by Canadian environmental groups for allegedly misleading advertisement when it claimed, among other things, that "bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world".

On multiple occasions, over a more than 40 year period, Nestlé has been criticized for, what The Guardian calls, its “aggressive marketing” of formula milk instead of breastfeeding in developing countries. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the company would discourage mothers, especially in low-income and disadvantaged regions, from breastfeedin

In 2018, the company came under fire again after a research report revealed it made several contradictory claims about its milk products for infants, and made health claims that are prohibited by European regulators.

In 2000, the company, alongside some of its peers, successfully lobbied to have access to drinking water downgraded from a “right” to a “need” at the World Water Forum.

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