questioned in U.K. about Dasani purity claim
By Thomas Wagner
LONDON, England - The Coca-Cola Company, world famous
for its "real thing" sodas, is being questioned
in Britain about using the word "pure" to advertise
its Dasani bottled water.
Why? Because it's specially treated London tap water.
On Tuesday, British trading standard officials asked
the borough where Coke's headquarters is based to look
into the matter.
Coke, which sells a similarly made Dasani water in the
Untied States, said it's confident it's abiding by the
"We work closely with all regulatory bodies and
in this instance we are fully satisfied that we are compliant
with all guidelines and regulations," the company
said in a statement.
A Coke spokesman said on condition of anonymity that
the complaint may have been made by its competitors in
Britain's 1 billion pound-a-year bottled water market.
Coke says its Dasani water is treated in a highly sophisticated
filtration process, perfected by NASA to purify fluids
But why, British newspapers such as The Daily Mail asked
Tuesday, should consumers pay up to 95 pence for a half
liter of Dasani when it's based on London drinking water
that costs 3 pence for the same amount?
The same purification process is used for the Dasani
water that Coke has sold in the United States since 1999.
Dasani is the second-best seller in the bottled water
market there, behind a similar purified water product
- Aquafina - made by Pepsi-Cola.
Britain's Food Standards Agency asked the borough authority
where Coca-Cola's headquarters is based to look into whether
the term "pure, still water" breached labeling
Dasani, which was launched in Britain last month, uses
municipal water at Coca-Cola's factory in Sidcup, southeast
The soft drinks giant said a "highly sophisticated
purification process" removes any impurities, such
as "bacteria, viruses, salts, minerals, sugars, proteins
and toxin particles" from the tap water.
The Food Standards Agency said Dasani may have broken
guidelines designed to protect shoppers from misleading
"This bottled water does not appear to follow our
labeling guidance on the use of the term `pure,'"
an agency spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity.
"Consumers may not realize that there are three
types of water sold in bottles: natural mineral water,
spring water and drinking water (which can be tap water).
If a product is not labeled as mineral water or spring
water, it will, in fact, be bottled drinking water."
The FSA's guidelines state the term "pure"
should only apply to "single ingredient foods or
to highlight the quality of ingredients."
Since Dasani takes tap water, a pure product, removes
material through purification, then adds calcium, magnesium
and sodium bicarbonate for taste, it may not be allowed
to be called "pure," he said.