DOH looks into bottled water with herbicide residue

By Joy Lee, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday said it has contacted the representative office of France in Taiwan and the importer of bottled water that tested positive for herbicide residue, asking for detailed reports in three days.

According to the joint report published by French magazine 60 Millions de Consommateurs and a French organization, bottled water from 10 brand-name bottled waters, including Vittel, Volvic, Cora and Cristaline, tested positive for a herbicide residue. The herbicide was atrazine, which is used to stop weeds in major crops. Taiwan imports Volvic and Vittel. Tsai Shu-chen (蔡淑貞), an official with the DOH’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said the administration has contacted the representative office of France in Taiwan, hoping for further information on the issue.

“The FDA has also planned to contact the importer in order to receive all related reports from the bottled water manufacturers,” Tsai said.

“The importer for Vittel brought in around 240 kilograms of products last March,” Tsai said, “and Volvic has brought in about 3,880 tons of goods since last January.”

Tsai said the report showed that the amount of residue was low and is not dangerous for humans to consume.

“However, the FDA remains concerned about whether the sources of the two bottled-water brands are polluted — a worry in the event of drinking such water over a long period of time.”

A major retail operator said yesterday that they will request all related reports from the bottled water companies and follow the guidance of the DOH regarding how to handle this issue.

Atrazine was banned by the European Union in 2004 because of persistent contamination of groundwater and its possible associations with birth defects and menstrual problems.