Purified Water: Fake or Real?

Numerous times in the last four years that we’ve lived here, questions about the authenticity of jug bottled water has been a topic of debate. Those of us expats with water coolers in our homes – most of us -- generally use the reliable Nestle or Watson’s brands of water. Occasionally, a person might question the taste of the water, or simply the look of the bottle that has been delivered. Is it real? Is it fake? What are we really drinking?

Because we’ve had no problems or concerns in our household, I haven’t really been too concerned with proving that what we have is real. That is, until I saw the water bottles pictured above behind our neighborhood Jenny Wang’s. My head wanted to justify what these were all doing there, but I couldn’t come up with anything. So I started to go back to those information posts I had previously ignored. I wanted to know.

For those who purchase Nestle water, there is a website you can use to check the authenticity of your water jugs. Go to www.95001111.com. This same website address should also be printed on the peel-off label on top of each bottle (albeit, super tiny print). Scratch off the silver portion of the label at the bottom for the serial number.

The website is in Chinese, but follow these directions and it’s easy to navigate. There are five blank boxes at the top of the web page. Each box takes four digits and automatically advances to the next box when you’ve entered four (note: your label lists numbers in blocks of five; simply enter the numbers in order from left to right, and there are still 20 digits in total). When you enter the numbers in the 5th box, a second line with two boxes appears. Enter your mobile phone number in the first box, and then the four-digit number code that’s next to the box in the second. Press enter.

If it is official Nestle water, the next page will list the year and month it was packaged, along with its lot number. Interestingly enough, all of this information shows up in English. This date should be the same as the one imprinted on the side of the plastic cap. If it is NOT official Nestle water, the page will indicate it does not recognize the number. At that point, you can try again or call the 9500111 number to report it.

Another way to check the manufactured date, especially if you read Chinese characters, is to send a text message containing that 20-digit number (under the silver scratch-off part of the label) to Nestle at 106695001111. A return message arrives almost immediately. 

I tried both, starting with the “easier” text message system. However, I couldn’t read the instant message and had no idea if mine was a real bottle or a fake one. So I went the website route and found out immediately that we – phew – were safe. This, despite the fact that our bottle/jug doesn’t exactly look brand new.

Not using Watson’s brand water, I cannot vouch for validating their authenticity. Those of you who do, please share with others at the end of this post. 


Re: Purified Water: Fake or Real?

Great blog, Charlotte! I was wondering about this, too. I don't use Nestle brand, but now I'm wondering if I should switch...

Sijia Chen, Managing Editor

Re: Purified Water: Fake or Real?

I agree. Thanks for sharing Charlotte.

Regarding the bottle looking not-so-new, I always thought they take back the empty ones because Nestle (and other brands) reuse the bottles. Also, have you ever seen them handle the bottles? They just toss them around, so I'm never surprised when the bottle is sometimes covered with a little dirt and some scratches - on the outside.

Kara Chin, Managing Editor

Re: Purified Water: Fake or Real?

Interestingly, some of those "Nestle" water bottles pictured above actually had the "Watsons" brand writing on them -- no clue what that means. I have heard that the companies reuse the bottles, and I've gotten over the fact that they don't look so great; I just wanted to make sure what was IN them was pure. I've heard awful rumors about seeing workers in back alleys filling them with the hose...but perhaps those aren't the ones they sell.

Re: Purified Water: Fake or Real?

There's no question those bottles get re-used. That's fine. But what concerns me is how they are sterilized and sanitized before they are refilled. They are, right?? With all this coverage the local water continues to receive, what would it take the local media to investigate and sniff out the truth?