Benefits of becoming a SANBWA member
For a bottler to become a member of SANBWA and be allowed to use the SANBWA logo on their products the following is required:
- The registered source, catchment area and surroundings must be certified free of existing and potential pollution by a professional hydrogeologist. In addition, the source must be sustainable over the longer term and have a consistent flow and temperature. An environmental protection plan must also be followed by the bottling company, in order to ensure that no permanent damage is done to either the surroundings or the source.
- The registered source and final product must adhere to the quality standards as set out in the SANBWA ‘Packaged Water Standard: Requirements for Source Water, Processing and Packaging. Each member is formally audited.
- Adherence to labelling legislation. SANBWA requires that specific product information be displayed on product labels for the consumer’s benefit.
- Natural spring or mineral water must be bottled at source. In order to ensure that the water remains as uncontaminated and pure as it is whilst still underground, it is vital that all sources of possible contamination be eliminated, and that the water is piped directly from the sealed source to the bottle.
- The typical mineral content of spring or mineral water must be clearly indicated on the label, along with the total dissolved solids (TDS) level. The mineral ‘mix’ is not prescribed, as different waters contain different mineral contents. Of importance, however, is the consistency of the mineral content over a period of time, indicating the consistency and sustainability of the source. Regular analysis on mineral content is thus required.
- Microbiological Purity: every batch of spring or mineral water that is bottled is tested for the complete absence of any harmful bacteria. Tests are also regularly done at every point of contact during the bottling operation. In the event of any traces of harmful bacteria, bottling is immediately halted; the complete bottling operation sanitised, and contaminated batches destroyed.
- Department of Health approval: the bottling operation is subject to regular inspections by the Department of Health, and a certificate of approval, regarding the general standard of acceptability, cleanliness and hygiene, is required prior to any bottling.
- As a legal requirement, a license must be obtained from the Department of Water Affairs & Sanitation, authorising the exploitation of the water for commercial purposes.
- Approval of membership by the SANBWA committee prior to the use of the logo.
1. One bottled water brand – multiple bottling sites:
- The plant owner is required to be the principle SANBWA member.
- The SANBWA Bottled Water Standard scope is for all sources and bottling plants of a specific bottled water brand.
- All water sources, brands, processing and bottling facilities must be registered under the SANBWA Certification Scheme.
- All sources, production sites and brands must be included under the brand registration of a member and comply with SANBWA Standards.
- In the case of a producer group, each production facility needs to sign up as the primary member. The brand owner (franchisor) is the brand member. Each production facility needs to be audited to verify conformance to the SANBWA Standard.
2. One bottled water brand – multiple labels with and without the SANBWA logo:
- All production sites (except for prepared water) must indicate the source and source specific information on labels, thus multiple labels are allowed as long as the label accurately represent the specific origin and content of the product.
- Prepared water does not have to state the exact origin of the source other than the phrase ‘from a private or public distribution system’.
- SANBWA does not allow a specific SANBWA member brand to bottle at alternative non-SANBWA approved sites, even where there are multiple labels to indicate the origin and content. Multiple versions of labels for one brand where one label carries the SANBWA logo and another not is not allowed as it will cause confusion in the mind of the consumer.
- The rule is therefore that a SANBWA member brand may bottle at multiple sites with the provision that all sites are SANBWA registered and audited members, that the labels conform to SANBWA standards and legislation with regards to correctly representing the content and source origin and that all labels of product from these multiple sites carry the SANBWA logo.
3. Rules specifically pertaining to the audits for SANBWA membership:
- All plants bottling a SANBWA member brand must be registered with SANBWA.
- All bottled water brands bottled at a SANBWA member plant must be registered with SANBWA.
- All production facilities bottling a registered brand need to be audited to verify conformance to the SANBWA Standard.
- All general regulations stipulated in the SANBWA Bottled Water Standard: Requirements for Source Water, Processing and Packaging must be adhered to. This includes regulations for administration and certification, membership responsibilities, member registration, corrective actions, sanctions and appeals.