Natural mineral water with pollutants

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Mineral water designated as "natural" may contain pollutants such as degradation products from pesticides

"Natural" mineral water may contain pollutants. This was decided by the Baden-Württemberg Administrative Court. Accordingly, “natural” does not mean “absolutely pure”, so that “natural” mineral water may contain degradation products from pesticides as long as there is no health risk for humans. As a result of the ruling, five sources of mineral water are granted approval, which the state of Baden-Württemberg initially refused due to the pollution. An appeal against the judgment was not allowed.

So far no legal limit values ​​for pollutants in "natural" mineral water As the Administrative Court (VGH) Baden-Württemberg judged, the "original purity" requirement of the nationwide mineral and table water ordinance demands "no absolute absence of pollutants". The state of Baden-Württemberg had previously refused further approval to five mineral water sources because degradation products from pesticides had been detected in the water. The VGH assessed the refusal of admission as a violation of the freedom of occupation. So far there are no limit values ​​in the mineral water ordinance. In addition, the pollutants should not be harmful to health.

According to the VGH, a legal basis is necessary for quality requirements associated with such an interference with professional freedom. The state of Baden-Württemberg, however, only used a value from an internal administrative regulation for guidance, according to which a value of 0.05 micrograms per liter of water was set for pesticides and pharmaceuticals. However, this internal regulation does not replace any law.

For the revocation of the approval for the mineral water sources, damage to the general public, the state or important goods of the community should have been threatened, according to the VGH. However, that was not the case in the case of the five mineral water sources concerned. Neither health nor consumer protection required absolutely pure "natural" mineral water.

The state of Baden-Württemberg can now appeal to the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig and also influence the federal government to include corresponding limit values ​​in the mineral water ordinance.

Carcinogenic substances in mineral water The judgment of the VGH has a pale aftertaste for consumers. Residues of pesticides in drinking water - but not a health hazard? Even Stiftung Warentest advises consumers to drink tap water instead of still mineral water.

In April this year, consumer advocates examined 25 different mineral waters with a fruit flavor. It also turned out that some of the samples contained undesirable and even hazardous substances. On the one hand, the taste was not convincing, since the products were advertised with "apple flavor", for example, but only contained artificial flavors. Ultimately, not a single tested mineral water with taste was rated “good”, but five were rated “poor”.

Consumers also reported that the water often contained a high sugar content. This particularly affected drinks with a strawberry flavor, which contained around 70 grams of sugar in 1.5 liters. This corresponds approximately to a quantity of 23 pieces of sugar cubes.

Another finding, however, was the most worrying. Benzene, a carcinogenic substance, was found in three cherry-flavored beverages, according to the Stiftung Warentest. (ag)

Image: Lupo /

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