UAE’s Esma bans sale of water without Emirates Quality Mark

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All bottled water and ice products will be regulated by Esma from September this year

From September this year, the quality of bottled drinking water and ice products can be verified by checking whether the product has been approved by the Emirates Standardisation Metrology Authority (Esma), in which case it will contain the Emirates Quality Mark.

Imported and locally produced bottled water and ice products will soon be required to be manufactured to conform with the unified standards that will be set by Esma.

This decision has been taken by the UAE Cabinet and will be enforced from September this year.

“Esma is the national standardisation body of the UAE and it has responsibility to prepare, issue and adopt standards related to the products that affect health, safety and environment. Since drinking water is crucial to consumers’ health, Esma has prepared a regulation on drinking water,” said Mohamed Saleh Badri, Acting Director-General of Esma.

From September, all ice and bottled drinking water and ice products on the shelves are required to have the Emirates Quality Mark (EQM), which is Esma’s mark of approval for products that meet the standards set by Esma.

Locally, more than 100 companies and factories will be required to register with Esma. Importers and sellers of bottled water and ice products will be required to register too before they can bring their products on the market.

Badri explained that the regulation aims to achieve the following goals:

•         Harmonising and unifying control procedures for drinking water in all the emirates and standardising procedures for dealing with imported and locally produced drinking water in UAE.

•         Ensuring quality and safety of drinking water for consumers and ensuring that all bottled drinking water is labelled with the EQM to indicate conformity to UAE standards and regulations for drinking water.

•         Ensuring that all equipment and materials used are made from food-grade material and all plastics used are degradable and environment friendly.

Food safety management, environmental issues, and safety of electrical appliances used are some of the most important criteria that manufacturers are required to adhere to before they are permitted to distribute their products in the UAE.

Esma will conduct on-site assessments to ensure the compliance of the factory to both FSMS (Food Safety and Management System) and standard (Esma) requirements. Based on the audit report (if there isn’t any non-compliance), the factory will be allowed to use the EQM,” said Badri.

Non-compliance may result in fines from Dh30,000 to Dh100,000, depending on the severity of the violation and no water shall be sold in the UAE unless an EQM is granted, warned Badri.

Price regulation of bottled water and ice products will not be the responsibility of Esma, as this is monitored by the Ministry of Economy.

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