By Mohamed Abdel Monsef
The Director of the Consumer Protection Authority (CPA), General Atef Yaqub, said that the CPA held a meeting with representatives of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC) regarding the shortage of bottled water in the market. The representatives vowed to issue an official nationwide memo obligating retailers to honour the announced prices.
Yaqub noted that merchants have seized the opportunity of the CPA shutting down seven bottled water companies, out of a total of 15 companies. The suspended companies are Alfa, Tiba, Elhadeer, Sway, Aqua Delta, Aqua Mina, and Aqua Sotir in Sadat City and Natron Valley.
The decision to shut down the factories was made by the Ministry of Health, as they weren’t up to code. This in turn decreased the supply of bottled water on the market. The price of one box jumped to EGP 28 from EGP 14.
In addition, companies such as Nestle, Siwa, Dasani, Baraka and Tiba increased their production to compensate for the shortage in markets, but they could not cover the demand requirements.
Yaqub requested consumers to report increased pricing through a hotline with the number 19588, so that legal measures are taken against violators.
Dr. Hussein Mansour, Director of the Food Safety Information Centre, confirmed that 80 percent of bottled water production in Egypt does not follow Egyptian standards and specifications. Egyptian standards prevent the acquisition of water from wells near cultivated lands because of the danger of the water mixing with soil chemicals or highly-toxic fertilisers which have permeated the soil and affected underground water reserves.