From January 1, 2021 packaged drinking water players in the country will to need to ensure that their products contain minerals such as calcium and magnesium in line with the limits set by the food safety authority.

Earlier this year, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had decided to extend the deadline for implementation of these standards for packaged drinking water to July 1 which was further extended to January 1, 2021 due to the pandemic.

According to the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) fourth Amendment Regulations, 2019, the mandatory requirement of calcium and magnesium in packaged drinking water has been set at 20-75 mg/litre and in the range of 10-30 mg/litre respectively.

FSSAI brought in these amendments in response to a direction from the National Green Tribunal last year.

Sources in the FSSAI said that the industry is ready to implement these regulations and it has also received representations from the industry appreciating the amendments. Most leading packaged drinking water players are geared up to roll out products with the new formulations, in line with the amended standards, from January 1.

But smaller players are learnt to have expressed some apprehensions seeking more time.

However, organised players that have already put in substantial investments to adhere to the new standards said that it is essential that these regulations get implemented from January 1 to ensure a level-playing field. “Due to addition of these minerals, the water may taste slightly different than it used to taste earlier. Ensuring that the the new formulation will be effective Jan 1, will not only provide better consumer value proposition but also a level playing field,” a senior industry executive said.