What’s in Iran’s Bottled Water?

By a Correspondent in Tehran, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

You won’t believe what some Iranians have found in their bottled water

The latest in a string of questionable food quality calls by the government is bringing to light issues such as the mass supply of unsanitary food products, the violations of consumer rights and the lack of substantive legal recourse to deal with them.

At issue now is the Iranian Health Ministry’s decision to halt a production line at the country’s biggest bottler of mineral water — and the ministry’s quick reversal of that decision.

On Sept. 21, Behrouz Jannat, director general of inspection and supervision at the Food and Drug Organization, announced that Damavand Mineral Water Company‘s production line in northern Tehran would be shut down because the company was not complying with regulations.

Damavand, which holds 40% of Iran’s mineral water market, is a joint venture with food and beverage giant Danone SA of Paris. Known as Dannon in the United States, the company’s numerous brands include Evian water and Oikos yogurt.

Reports emerged that Damavand was continuing to distribute its products, which prompted Health Minister Seyed Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi to personally intervene. He announced that in recent months, 12 mineral water production companies had received warnings.

Of them, 11 promised to correct their errors, but Damavand had resisted. Hashemi said, “This company … does not have the right to distribute bottled water in the market.”

Less than one month later, Damavand was back in full swing. Rasoul Dinavard, head of Iran’s Food and Drug Organization, told reporters, “They were allowed to resume work under certain conditions, and they guaranteed [they would] follow through with their commitments.”

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