Perrier to Remove ‘Sparkling Water’ Claim from Its Bottles
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says Perrier’s claim to be ″naturally sparkling″ is false, and the phrase should be removed from labels of the bottled water.
Perrier, which plans to reintroduce its product next week after a worldwide recall, disagrees, but says it will comply.
The FDA said the water is not naturally carbonated as it comes out of the ground at a spring in Vergeze, France. The water and carbon dioxide both come from the spring but are separated at the source, and the carbonation is added to the water in the factory after impurities are filtered out.
″The water comes out of the ground and the carbonation is added,″ Bob Crowell, compliance officer in the FDA’s Boston district office, said Thursday.
Perrier Group President Ronald V. Davis said in a statement, ″While we do not agree with the need for these changes and feel that our label has always adequately and accurately described our product, we have made these changes to comply with the FDA request and to act responsibly in quickly returning Perrier to our consumers.″
All Perrier bottled after July 29 will bear a new label: ″Natural mineral water,″ said Jane Lazgin, a spokeswoman for the Perrier Group of America Inc. in Greenwich, Conn.
A side panel will state: ″Since 1863, bottled only at Source Perrier, Vergeze, France. The carbonation used in Perrier is taken from a naturally occurring source found deep within the earth.″
Source Perrier S.A. of France began a worldwide recall in February after trace amounts of cancer-causing benzene were discovered in some bottles.
Perrier said the water became contaminated because workers had failed to replace filters that remove impurities found in all naturally occurring gases.
Perrier said no one’s health was ever at risk because of the benzene. But the incident revealed that Perrier, which touted its product as pure and natural, mechanically adds gas to the water.
The company has announced new testing and monitoring to prevent problems.
Lazgin said bottles will return to store shelves Thursday beginning in New York, Miami and Washington. All bottles since the recall will bear the words, ″New Production,″ or in French, ″Nouvelle Production.″
She said surveys of Perrier customers conducted shortly after the recall indicated 84 percent would buy it again.