Authority orders bottler to shut down on Classy Water standards controversy

ETHIOPIA – The Ministry of Trade has cautioned the public against Classy Water bottled by Belay Industrial Plc on water quality issues, leading to the closure of the facilities, reports Fortune.

The warning to avoid and stop drinking the product was issued on 20 September 2018 by the ministry saying a batch of bottled water produced in April 2018 had failed to pass a random market inspection test.

Having passed standard tests carried out by the Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise every three months, it was established that the bottler had failed a test carried out in July of this year.

During one of its mandatory random inspections, the Ministry indicated that a batch bottled by the company in April carried a higher level of heterotrophic plate count (HPC), a measure of heterotrophic bacteria in drinking water.

Though the Ministry insisted that the products failed to conform to standards, the enterprise said the bottler had met all the standard requirements.

Standards criteria

Muluken Gashu, finance manager of Classy Water, however assured the consumers that its products had passed the Conformity Enterprise’s safety tests and were safe for drinking.

“The company can’t be held responsible for its products after they are distributed and reach the market,” said Muluken Gashu.

“Storage conditions have a great effect on the quality of the water.”

“To close the company because of allegedly defective products in the market after five months of production is unjustifiable.”

Classy Water, established in 2007 has received such warnings from the authorities before despite passing tests by Conformity Enterprise.

Last year, the ministry ordered the facility to cease production on same water quality issues which requires one to meet certain standards.

The Ethiopian Standards Agency has four standards requirements on bottled water that is, packaging and labelling, a specification of bottled drinking water and standards on plastic materials for food contact use.

The Food & Drug Administration Authority is mandated to issue a Certificate of Manufacturing Competency while the Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise provides inspection and laboratory testing services.

The Ethiopian standard for HPC count is five times lower than the one set by the United States.

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