The Ein Gedi Mineral Water Company announced yesterday evening its suspicion of the presence of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria in its water bottles, the 2-liter bottle six-packs – manufactured on August 1, 2 and 3, 2012, and bearing an expiry date of August 1, 2 and 3, 2013 respectively. The company announced a recall of the bottles, as well as returns of the bottles to the retail outlets.
Following are some Q & A’s, which may be of help to the general public:
Is this bacteria dangerous? This is an ambient bacteria, occurring naturally in soil, water and plants. The bacteria is very widespread and can be found in swimming pools and other water sources. At the concentrations found in the bottles, the bacteria pose no threat to anyone with a healthy immune system. For people with a degraded immune system, there is a theoretical chance of contracting a non-life-threatening disease.
If I drank this water, what should I do? Should I seek medical attention? There is no need to contact a physician. If there are any suspected symptoms of an infection induced by the bacteria (such as fever, bowel disorder), contact your physician.
Who tests the water? The factory is required to perform daily (every day) microbial tests, in an effort to ensure the water’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. The tests are conducted both on the water source (which was found to be in order), as well as on the bottles themselves, after they have been filled. The Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria were found during the daily tests, in the 2-liter six-packs of the manufacture dates of August 1, 2 and 3, 2012. According to the company’s reports, bottled water from other manufacture dates were in order. The Ministry of Health is continuing its ongoing supervision of the factory, monitoring the progress in the results as well as in the findings of the investigation launched to pinpoint the potential source of the contamination.
Why is the public being called upon to return the bottles and not to consume the water? As mentioned above, the health hazard is theoretical and non-existent for those with a healthy immune system. However, to remove any conceivable doubt, and in view of the regulations prohibiting the marketing of water from bottles which are not standards-compliant, the Ministry of Health has instructed the company to recall them from the market, and recommends not to consume this water and to return it to the manufacturer.
The company has set up a consumer hotline at 1-800-701-701.