EFBW Welcomes Adoption of Revised International Code of Hygienic Practice for Natural Mineral Waters

Brussels – 11 July 2011 -The European Federation of Bottled Water (EFBW) welcomes the revised Recommended International Code of Hygienic Practice for the Collecting, Processing and Marketing of Natural Mineral Waters, recently adopted by the Codex Alimentarius at its 34th Session in Geneva, 4-9 July 2011.
“The Code’s adoption marks an important step in the Federation’s continuous work in establishing recognition for the high qualities of natural mineral waters”, said Patricia Fosselard, Secretary General of EFBW.

An Updated Worldwide Standard
The first Code of Hygienic Practice for natural mineral waters was initially adopted in 1985. The revision, unanimously supported by the bottled water industry was led by the Codex Committee on Natural Mineral Waters, hosted by Switzerland.
 The new Code is an updated standard identifying the necessary requirements to guarantee the distribution of natural mineral water, safe and suitable for human consumption. It incorporates the latest   developments in food hygiene (HACCP principles) and food safety legislation in line with best practices carefully applied by the bottled water industry at every step of production, from abstraction and handling, to packaging of natural mineral waters.
The Code will provide useful guidance to all countries willing to develop their own standard and to controlling authorities around the world.

Natural Mineral Waters: a very special product which deserves extra care!
The Code acknowledges the specificities of natural mineral waters in particular their original purity, exclusive protected underground origin and their microbiological wholesomeness.
In addition to setting strict conditions to guarantee consumer safety, the Code also sets stringent requirements to ensure that natural mineral waters retain their original qualities possessed at source. 
“By definition, natural mineral waters must be protected from any microbiological contamination. This very fact means that they do not need  and must not be disinfected, therefore extra care must be taken to protect them from the spring to the moment they reach the final consumer”,  said Annick Moreau, Chair of EFBW’s Quality Working Group. “The Code ensures this is achieved through additional requirements to prevent any risk of contamination as well as detailed guidance on the use of microbiological criteria”, she explained.

EFBW Guide to Good Hygienic Practices 
In order to promote best practices amongst its membership, EFBW adopted its own Guide to Good Hygienic Practices for Bottled Water in Europe in 2010. The Guide aims to be a common reference tool for the European industry and will assist its members in designing their own guidelines. The EFBW Guide is currently under review by the European Commission pending official validation.

The adoption of documents for good hygienic practices both by the Codex Alimentarius and EFBW underlines the importance of protecting the unique specificities of natural mineral waters and demonstrates the industry’s responsibility and commitment in delivering safe, high quality products to consumers.

About EFBW The European Federation of Bottled Waters is a non-profit international trade association based in Brussels. Our members are national associations and companies representing the interests of over 600 producers of bottled waters across Europe. EFBW works closely with European and international institutions which regulate on bottled water, including the European Commission and Codex Alimentarius.  www.efbw.org

For more information contact us: +32 (0)2 210 2032