Congressional Activity – Letters to Senator

Congressional Activity – Letters to Senator


Letters to Senator

July 23, 2001


The Honorable Harry Reid

United States Senate

528 Hart Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Barbara Boxer

United States Senate

112 Hart Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton

United States Senate

476 Russell Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Jon Corzine

United States Senate

502 Hart Office Building

Washington, DC 20510


Dear Senators:

IBWA representatives have met recently with you and your staff to discuss bottled water legislation that you now have under consideration. These meetings have been very productive and demonstrated that we all share the same goal – providing consumers with access to useful and meaningful information about bottled water.

While a copy of your draft legislation has not been made available to us, we understand from our discussions that, among other things, the bill may:

    • Require companies to submit bottled water ingredient information to a federal government agency in a standard format. This information would then be made available to the public through the Internet or other means.
    • Require bottled water labels to include information that is not mandated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any other food product. The required information would be similar in content and format to that which public water systems are required to provide annually to their customers.

Since our recent meetings with you and your staff, we have had an opportunity to discuss these issues more fully with our members. Based on these discussions, IBWA has reaffirmed its long-held position that our customers have a right to know what is in the products they consume. However, we do not believe that legislation of this type is necessary. Bottled water is one of the most comprehensively regulated food products and current labeling laws and industry practices provide consumers with useful and meaningful information about these products.

While IBWA does not believe that any additional legislation is necessary, we have taken the following recent actions to help ensure that consumers have access to useful and meaningful bottled water product information and to address some of your concerns:

1. The IBWA Model Code, with which all IBWA members must comply, has been amended to require all proprietary brand products to include a telephone number on their labels. Most bottled waters already provide this information on the label. Consumers can then easily contact the company and request product information. The IBWA Model Code has for many years recommended that bottled water products include a telephone number and beginning January 1, 2002 it will be required for proprietary brands.

2. IBWA has also approved a mandatory requirement that all members have a report available to send consumers who request product quality information. IBWA members currently provide this information on a voluntary basis. This document will be similar in content to the report that public water systems are required to provide to their customers. All IBWA member companies will be required to provide a copy of this information to the independent inspection authority (NSF International) that conducts a mandatory, annual, unannounced inspection at their plants.

3. IBWA will petition FDA and request that all bottled water labels be required to include a telephone number. Since IBWA members account for the vast majority of bottled water sales in the United States, most products will already be covered by the new IBWA Model Code provision requiring a telephone number on the label. However, there may be some non-member companies that do not currently provide a telephone number on their product labels. An FDA regulation will therefore ensure that all companies provide this useful information on the label. FDA has the authority to act on this petition without the need for any additional legislation. We would ask that you join us in petitioning FDA on this issue. Having your support for this effort would certainly enhance the chances of our petition receiving favorable consideration.

IBWA appreciates your interest in bottled water issues. The Association believes that the actions outlined in this letter, coupled with our members’ long history of providing a safe, quality food product, demonstrates our continued commitment to provide consumers with useful and meaningful information about bottled water. These actions will accomplish our common goal, without the need for new legislation.

If you have any questions concerning this matter, or if we can ever be of any assistance, please contact us.



Joseph K. Doss