July 10, 2013
A local manufacturer of bottled drinking water Sunrise (Pty) Ltd is under scrutiny from the Department of Health Services for selling drinking bottled water suspected to be contaminated with Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement last week that the bottled water which is branded Agua, with the expiry date 31/02/2014 was found to be contaminated with the bacteria and the batch is being recalled from all selling point countrywide.
Bottled water contaminated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria may not look or smell spoiled. The Ministry said water contaminated by Pseudomonas aeruginosa may however lead to gastrointestinal illness or other more serious consequnces. However there have been no reported illnesses associated with consumption of this batch.
The Ministry of Health is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall in collaboration with the Ministry of local Government through the councils.
Meanwhile the head of food safety in the Department of Health Services Hussein Tarimo told The Patriot on Sunday that the alert on the contaminated water was only made to Sunrise (PTY) Ltd after a strings of tests were made on the bottled water by his department last month.
He said at this stage the company has only been advised to recall the contaminated batch and clean its factories but says if the problem recur the ministry of health will force the company to close business until the problem is rectified. According to Tarimo because the supplier knows where the bottled water was dispatched to, they are in a better position to alert retailers in possession of their contaminated product.
He however assured the public that the organism (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) was not high risk and that most infections incurred from drinking contaminated water were likely to be moderate. “For a sick person, yes the infection can be serious, but for somebody in normal health state the consequences are not life threatening” he said.
Tarimo cautioned people against bottled water generally, saying that people often opt to buy bottle water thinking that it is much safer than bottled water whereas in actual fact the risks are the same.