This week’s food safety scandal comes courtesy of Nongfu bottled water (农夫山泉矿泉水), which allegedly now comes with worm eggs inside its red screw caps.
According to an article in The China Daily, a Tongzhou shopkeeper and one of her customers claim to have discovered "cream-colored worm eggs, as big as sesame seeds" inside the caps of some bottles of the popular brand. The customer’s son also reportedly became ill after ingesting the water (they claim the boy didn’t see the eggs until after taking a few sips) and was later diagnosed with "acute enteritis" by a doctor.
In a letter sent to Sina Finance on July 21, Nongfu denied any wrongdoing and claims the "eggs were on the outside of the bottles, not the inside," thus entailing that the company was not responsible for any contamination found in its water and placing the blame on the shopkeepers’ storage methods – a classic, "he said, she said" scenario.
These kinds of cases are extremely difficult to assess – on one hand, too many domestic companies engage in incredibly unscrupulous practices when it comes to ensuring the safety of their products, but then again, there are instances where consumer complaints turn out to be false alarms, or in the instance of the now-debunked Sprite mercury poisoning case last year, outright bogus.
The jury is still out on whether or not there is any legitimacy to this particular consumer complaint, but Nongfu’s relatively strong brand image will undoubtedly suffer regardless of the outcome. At the very least you’ll want to think twice before putting your lips around any plastic bottle that’s fresh off the store shelf.
In the meantime, here’s a link to Aquasana China’s main site and its address below:
Check out the BeijingKids forum for more discussion on under-the-sink-water purifiers.