Coliform bacteria found in top-branded packaged drinking water bottles in Kerala
The Kerala State Pollution Control Board has found the presence of coliform bacteria in samples of packaged drinking water bottles of leading brands in the state including Kinley and Kinfisher.
Other brands are include Pure Drops, Chandrika and Gopika Cool Water.
Although the lab report mentions the brand as Kinfisher, the understanding is that the brand referred to is Kingfisher.
In the lab report from Central Laboratory in Kochi, a copy of which is available with The News Minute, the samples collected from districts of Thrissur and Alappuzha in February this year revealed varied count of coliform bacteria presence, indicating faecal contamination.
According to the lab report dated March 28, the analysis report for the month of February reveals 2 to 41 colony-forming unit (CFU) per 100 ml in the five packaged drinking water brands.
According to Dr.Meenakshy, Deputy District Heath Service (Public Health), the count of coliform has to be 0 in every 100ml. Any trace of the bacteria, she says, can result in water-borne diseases and other acute diarrheal diseases.
Food Safety Commissioner GR Gokul informed that statutory samples of these brands from across the state have already been collected based on the report submitted by KSPCB a few days ago.
Speaking to The News Minute over phone, Gokul informed that the samples have been sent for analysis. “Though units of many packaged drinking water companies have been shut due to the unit failing to meet the required standards, brands like Kinley or Kingfisher have not come under the scanner before. If we find coliform bacteria’s presence in the analysis reports that are awaited, we would then initiate proceedings against the brands,” he said.
In case high levels are recorded, the bottles will either be withdrawn form the market or banned completely.
While Indubai, an environmental scientist of KSPCB (Alappuzha district) says that samples of packaged bottled water is sent to the central laboratory every month for testing, Chief Engineer Lovly says that regular testing is not undertaken at the laboratory owing to "staff crunch".
Asked about the delay in submitting the report to the Food Safety Commissioner, she attributes "processing delay" to be the reason. However, an official at the central laboratory in Kochi-who sought anonymity- said that the tests are done in a span of a day, the reports of which are sent to the head office within two working days.