Mineral water sounds very natural, but in France, that was not at all the case for years. A report by the French government puts Nestlé and other water producers in disrepute.
Perhaps many more
Nestlé admits that it has purified its mineral waters with microfiltration, activated carbon filters and ultraviolet filters for years, Le Monde reports. Those treatments were supposed to ensure that the water is definitely safe for consumption, but they are not allowed. According to regulations, mineral water must come straight from the source and must not be pre-treated in filtration plants.
Nestlé defended itself by saying it could not do otherwise, because water sources are becoming microbiologically and chemically contaminated. The producer is now compliant with regulations, but after a number of polluted wells were closed in the Vosges region last year, the Hépar and Contrex brands reduced their production and Vittel even stopped completely in Germany. Some sources are now used for flavoured water and energy drinks, under the Maison Perrier name, as they are not subject to the same rules as mineral water.
It was an employee of French water group Alma alleged in 2020 that the exclusive Châteldon brand added iron sulphate and even tap water to its spring water. Subsequent investigations showed the French government inspection that nearly 30 % of bottled water brands use “non-compliant treatments”, and that it is “very likely” many more slip through the cracks. Meanwhile, the strict regulations have been relaxed somewhat at Nestlé’s request: microfiltration has been allowed in France since last year.