Hashemi said Damavand’s water was contaminated with Pseudomonas bacteria. According to the World Health Organization website, the bacteria does not usually cause symptoms in healthy people; however, its presence in large numbers in bottled water can affect taste, odor and clarity.
A senior official at the Food and Drug Organization who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity said, “Unfortunately, our organization has been under a great deal of pressure to announce that Damavand’s mineral water is once again suitable for distribution. Damavand is a colossal company and it’s not possible to guarantee that this bacteria has been eliminated in its bottled water in only two weeks. This is not to mention that the company never truly accepted that its products were contaminated with Pseudomonas. Therefore, how can it have corrected the situation?”
Damavand’s executive manager gave a press conference Oct. 18. Without accepting any responsibility for earlier contamination in the company’s products or explaining how its bottled water would become free of contaminants in the future, he said, “Cultural differences are one of the main elements that has become a headache for Damavand Mineral Water Company,” referring to his dissatisfaction with how authorities handled the situation.
When it comes to reporting on consumer rights violations, there are no independent media outlets in Iran, only ones that voice the opinions of government officials. There are also no powerful nongovernmental organizations to ensure that consumer rights are respected by food producers.