Mon, Aug 14, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Legislator slams extravagant claims for mineral water

CRYSTAL CLEAR Lee Chen-nan called for mineral water companies to be fined if claims they made about their products were found to be incorrect

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A majority of the mineral waters on sale across the nation are not worth the price consumers are paying for them because it is impossible to verify claims made about them, a legislator said yesterday.

"It's a very strange state of affairs when some branded mineral waters are more expensive than gasoline," Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Chen-nan (李鎮楠) told a press conference yesterday.

"Now 95-octane unleaded gasoline costs NT$28.6 (US$0.858) per liter, but some brands of mineral water cost more than NT$30 or even NT$40 a bottle," he said.

Unverified

Lee said that while expensive mineral waters frequently claim to possess a variety of health benefits none of the claims used in the advertising or promoting of the waters has been proven to be true by the government authorities.

"Officials from the Water Resource Agency of the Ministry of Economic Affairs told me that a brand of mineral water which claims it contains certain microelements cannot be verified as the concentration of the micro-elements is too low," Lee said.

He added that advertisements for a number of mineral waters were misleading.

"One particular brand of mineral water claims to come from a source in snow-capped mountains, but actually, it is from the Snow Mountain (雪山)," Lee said, referring to one of the nation's main peaks.

Highs and lows

"Another brand of mineral water claims in its publicity that it possesses a pH value as high as 9.0," he said.

"But it fails to explain to consumers that the pH value of the water will go down if it is exposed to the sun or if the water has been stored for a long time," he said.

The legislator called on the government to introduce financial penalties for producers of mineral water who are unable to prove that the quality of their water is as good as claimed in advertisements.

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