The beverage giant that markets a pair of trusted consumer brands – Keurig and Dr Pepper – imported large quantities of bottled water from Mexico until Consumer Reports blew the whistle on high arsenic content.
Cathy Siegner, April 22, 2019
Food Dive – Out of 130 bottled water brands tested, Consumer Reports found 11 contained detectable arsenic levels, including six with 3 parts per billion or more.
The federal standard for arsenic in bottled water is 10 ppb, but Consumer Reports said current research suggests levels above 3 ppb “are potentially dangerous to drink over extended periods of time.”
The six with 3 ppb were Whole Foods’ Starkey brand, Keurig Dr Pepper’s Peñafiel, Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water, Danone’s Volvic, and the Crystal Creamery and EartH2O regional brands.
Did you even know that the U.S. imports bottled water from Mexico?
Following Consumer Reports’ inquiries, Keurig Dr Pepper conducted new tests and found average arsenic levels of 17 ppb in Peñafiel samples.
The company suspended production at its bottling plant in Mexico for two weeks and told Consumer Reports it was improving filtration. The company did not issue a recall.
Consumer Reports is using this investigation to show that more consistent regulation of bottled water is needed. Arsenic is a natural component of the earth’s crust and is widely distributed throughout the environment in the air, water and land.
Consumer Reports has previously expressed concern about elevated arsenic and heavy metal in water and fruit juices and advocated for lowering the permissible level from 10 ppb to 3 ppb.
While the magazine noted there were “dozens of bottled water brands” reporting no detectable levels of arsenic in their products, consuming arsenic over a long period can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower IQ scores in children and cause certain cancers.
To check on arsenic levels in bottled water, Consumer Reports said it reviewed company testing results and public records, as well as conducted independent tests on the Peñafiel, Starkey and Jermuk brands.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration previously put Peñafiel and Jermuk, which is from Armenia, on import alerts for containing arsenic above the 10 ppb standard.
Arsenic in Some Bottled Water Brands at Unsafe Levels, Consumer Reports Says
Keurig Dr Pepper suspends production of its Peñafiel brand, as CR urges a full recall and tougher federal standards. What you need to know.
By Ryan Felton, April 18, 2019
CONSUMER REPORTS – Natural foods grocery chain Whole Foods introduced its new brand of bottled water at a 2015 investor event, where company executives heralded the product’s purity and healthfulness.
“It naturally flows out of the ground,” chief operating officer A.C. Gallo said about the company’s spring in Council, Idaho, according to a published transcript on its website. “We built, actually, a spring house over it so we can let the water go down to the bottling plant. It’s amazingly pristine water.”
Yet from late 2016 to early 2017, Starkey Water—the name of Whole Foods’ brand—recalled more than 2,000 cases of water after tests by regulators showed an impermissible level of arsenic beyond the federally mandated threshold of 10 parts per billion.
“It makes no sense that consumers can purchase bottled water that is less safe than tap water.”
A year later, Whole Foods’ internal testing showed results that were just under the federal limit but still at levels that pose risks if regularly consumed, according to growing research and independent experts, including Consumer Reports’ scientists.
Over the past few years, as consumers have worried more about the quality of municipal tap water, bottled water has surged in popularity. It’s now the nation’s best-selling bottled beverage, according to the International Bottled Water Association.
But a CR investigation has found that in some cases bottled water on store shelves contains more potentially harmful arsenic than tap water flowing into some homes.
“It makes no sense that consumers can purchase bottled water that is less safe than tap water,” says James Dickerson, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports.
“If anything, bottled water—a product for which people pay a premium, often because they assume it’s safer—should be regulated at least as strictly as tap water … ” Read more.