Myanmar lowers FDA standards after 75 bottled water brands fail hygiene tests

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Image: Shutterstock/ Tarasyuk Igor

You might want to be careful the next time you reach for a bottle of water in Myanmar.

Some 70 clean drinking water brands were granted brand licenses despite failing FD-Aadministered tests, after the governmental forces decided it was easier to lower exam criteria than for the brands to improve the quality of their water.

Myanmar’s Food and Drug Administration’sMicrobial exam measures the number of bacterial settlements that grow in water.

All water brands in Myanmar were previously required to contain less than 100 settlements per millilitre the same standard used in places like the US and EU.

However, several of the brands that failed had over 300 settlements per millilitre.

“In U.S. and the E.U ., the standard is 100 bacterial settlements. Our standard was also[ set at that degree] but that was apparently too high for domestic brands, ” FDA director-general Dr Than Htut told news outlet Eleven .

“We have relaxed the criterion to 500 per millilitre after learning that this degree is accepted in other Southeast Asian countries.”

Dr Htut added that the country “still won’t approve any brands whose clean drinking water contains coliform bacteria, including E.coli”.

According to the World Health Organization, counting bacterial settlements per millilitre is used as a touchstone for how good the filtration process was.

Myanmar has 997 drinking water-production firms, with FDA officials conducting tests every two years. The FDA declined to reveal the brands that initially failed the microbial test.

Clean water is one of Myanmar’s biggest problems in a country where it is unsafe to drink tap water, many still outline water from unprotected wells as they cannot afford or have no access to bottled water.

However, even those who can afford it now have a reason to be wary.

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