IBWA Opposes LA County Resolution
IBWA Opposes LA County Resolution
TO: Supervisor Michael Antonovich
FR: M. Troy Flanagan
Director of Government Relations,
International Bottled Water Association
CC: Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
DT: February 11, 2003
RE: Resolution Regarding AB 83 (Corbett)
On behalf of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), I am writing to oppose the resolution being considered by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in support of Assembly Bill 83, by Assemblywoman Ellen Corbett, and its Senate companion, Senate Bill 50, by Sen. Byron Sher. AB 83 would require water bottlers to provide consumer confidence reports and to pay for state inspections of bottling facilities.
IBWA understands that consumers want access to information about the food they consume, including bottled water. However, we are concerned that AB 83 could in some ways make the delivery of this important product information more difficult, costly, and confusing for consumers.
Consumer confidence reports, which are required for public water systems, are not relevant to bottled water due to the numerous differences in distribution and regulation between bottled water and public water systems. Bottled water is a packaged food product and distributed in individually coded, sanitary containers made from packaging materials specifically regulated by law for food packaging use. The bottling process and the containers must conform to U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Good Manufacturing Practices, and food/bottled water laws and regulations. To protect the public health, bottled water is subject to FDA enforcement actions, including warning letters, civil (seizure and/or injunction) and criminal penalties. Thus, if a bottled water product is not compliant with the laws and regulations, it is subject to removal from the market.
Bottled water, as a packaged food, already has extensive FDA labeling requirements for the consumer to see on each container. Those requirements include the type of water as defined within the regulations on the standards of identity, ingredient labeling, name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor, and nutrition labeling, if so required by the federal Nutritional Education Labeling Act. A recent update in California bottled water law (AB 2723) by Assemblyman Herb Wesson, Jr., requires bottled water labels to include contact information in the form of a phone number or mailing address so that consumers can contact the company should they wish to obtain additional information on bottled water brands. The law also mandates that bottlers “may also include other forms of contact” such as email address or website.
IBWA is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters. Founded in 1958, IBWA’s membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the FDA, which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, and state governments, together with the IBWA Model Code, to set stringent standards for safe, high quality bottled water products.
The bottled water industry strives to ensure our water is safe and of high quality, which is why the industry supports a uniform comprehensive system of regulation at the state and federal level that fully protects the public health and allows consumers to easily obtain information regarding bottled water. For these reasons, I urge you not to offer your support for AB 83 and SB 50.
M. Troy Flanagan