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Spring water group fights for truth in advertising.

A newly formed group of spring water bottlers is questioning the Food and Drug Administration's proposed labeling regulations on bottled water, asserting the rules don't make a proper distinction between spring and well water.

"Well water and spring water aren't the same," says James M. Heaton, president of the National Spring Water Association (NSWA). "We're talking in terms of truth in labeling for the public, which spends more than $2 billion a year on bottled water."

In a significant number of situations, water from a municipal supply is being marketed as spring or well water. Such labeling is misleading, the FDA said.

"People perceive spring water to be a premium product," Heaton said, "because it is in limited supply. The cost to bottle actual spring water far exceeds what it would cost to bottle well water."

Under the proposed FDA rules, spring water would be defined as "bottled water obtained from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface, or which would flow naturally to the surface if it were not collected below the earth's surface."

The NSWA said the proposal would also allow spring water to be "collected at the spring or through a bore hole next to the point of emergence," as long as it maintains all physical properties of water flowing naturally to the surface. That definition would let well producers "ride on the coat tails" of spring water companies, Heaton said.
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Title Annotation:National Spring Water Association
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Mar 22, 1993
Words:238
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