The Truth About The FDA and Bottled Water


Many Americans currently drink bottled water in preference to tap water, due to its better taste and lower level of impurities. However, another benefit to drinking bottled water is the fact that it is heavily regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Because of this, bottled water must conform to the same regulatory requirements that are used to evaluate America’s tap water.

FDA Quality Standards for Bottled Water

Currently, the FDA sets the health and material standards that bottled water products must meet or exceed. In all cases, bottled water must meet the same standards that tap water must meet. In addition, the FDA must regularly review the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Primary Water Drinking Standards (NPDWS) in order to determine if they apply to bottled water. Should the FDA determine that these standards are relevant to bottled water or fail to make a decision within180 days, the NPDWS will then be applied to all products sold in America.

FDA Regulatory Authority over Bottled Water Used Within a Single State

One common myth about bottled water is that the FDA cannot regulate products that are not involved in interstate commerce. In fact, the FDA has full regulatory authority over any bottled water product, so long as any part of the product, such as its packaging material, has been involved in interstate commerce. This means that virtually all bottled water consumed in the United States is fully regulated by the FDA.

The FDA has Extensive Resources Dedicated to the Regulation of Bottled Water

The FDA currently has over 800 scientists and regulatory officials working at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) who ensure that all bottled water used in the United States conforms to the relevant FDA regulations. In addition, FDA regional offices and local state agencies provide direct supervision of all bottled water production facilities in the United States. For this reason, the bottled water consumed by Americans, no matter its place of origin, is regularly evaluated by the FDA and state agencies.

Ultimately, all bottled water products sold in the United States are closely regulated by the FDA. For this reason, bottled water remains an excellent alternative to the use of tap water, especially in regions where tap water sources have an unpleasant smell, taste, or are prone to contamination.