Aquafina labels to spell out source - tap water
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- PepsiCo Inc. will spell out that its Aquafina bottled water is made with tap water, a concession to the growing environmental and political opposition to the bottled water industry. According to Corporate Accountability International, a U.S. watchdog group, the world's No. 2 beverage company will include the words "Public Water Source" on Aquafina labels.
NewsTarget.com printable article
Originally published August 2 2007
Pepsi admits Aquafina comes from tap waterby Mike Adams
It's a great marketing gimmick: A bottle of water with a clean, blue label
showing images of snow-capped mountains and the claim, "Pure water, perfect
taste." That's the image created by Pepsico's Aquafina brand of water, and
many consumers leap to the incorrect conclusion that Aquafina is sourced
from mountain spring water.
In reality, Aquafina comes from tap water. Yes, the same water you get when
you turn on your kitchen faucet. Of course, Aquafina is filtered, purified
and perhaps even enhanced with trace amounts of added minerals, but it's
certainly not mountain spring water. It's just processed tap water -- the
same stuff that fills your toilet bowl when you flush.
Both the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) and the FDA believe
there's really no need to require bottled water manufacturers to admit their
products come from tap water. No surprise there -- both these organizations
routinely act to protect the interests of powerful corporations, and when it
comes to bottled water, the biggest companies are often those sourcing the
lowest quality water (such as tap water).
This idea that consumers should not be informed their high-priced bottled
water is really just filtered tap water is consistent with the aims of food,
drug and beverage corporations, who almost universally agree that consumers
should be given less information, not more, about the products they're
swallowing. Over the last several decades, corporations have vigorously
opposed truth in labeling laws and regulations, including those requiring
the labeling of trans fatty acids, sodium content and even ingredients
lists! (If the food corporations had their way, all ingredients would be
considered "proprietary formulas" and not listed on the label at all.)
This bottled water issue brings to light the apparent deceptive practices of
some of the largest suppliers of bottled water products. By avoiding the
honest labeling of the source of their water while relying on snow-capped
mountain imagery, these companies quietly mislead consumers into thinking
their water products are from a pristine, natural source such as a mountain
CAI pressures PepsiCo to tell the truth
PepsiCo only agreed to tell the truth on their bottled water labels after
being pressured by Corporate Accountability International (CAI), a
non-profit organization that helps protect consumers from corporate abuse.
See their website at http://www.stopcorporateabusenow.org
CAI rallied consumers from around the world to complain to PepsiCo about the
current labeling of Aquafina, and thousands of consumers slammed PepsiCo's
phone lines so hard that the company was forced to shut down call center
operations. CAI told NewsTarget that within 30 minutes after the
call-to-action announcement went live, PepsiCo's consumer phone lines were
no longer being answered and would not allow callers to leave voice mails.
Pepsi executives reportedly held an emergency meeting and made a decision to
add the phrase, "Public water source" to Aquafina labels.
Reluctantly admitting a small part of the truth
Even then, the phrase "public water source" isn't very descriptive. To some
people, the phrase simply implies that Aquafina is itself a public water
source. It's not the same as admitting, "Aquafina comes from tap water,"
which would be a far more honest way to label the product. But PepsiCo seems
to have no interest in advertising the source of their Aquafina product, and
my guess is that the "public water source" text on the label will be really
small and difficult to read. It's much like the labeling of side effects of
prescription drugs: They bury the bad news somewhere that most consumers
won't ever look.
Aquafina is currently the top-selling bottled water brand in the United
States. According to CAI, 4 out of 5 consumers now drink bottled water, and
1 out of 5 drink it as their sole water source! (Gee, that's a lot of
plastic going to landfill, too...)
The bottles used to package bottled water are almost always made from
plastics containing bisphenol-A (BPA), a carcinogenic chemical that often
leaches into the water and gets swallowed by consumers. Click here to read
our articles on BPA, a chemical widely believed to contribute to certain
cancers. This contamination factor, however, is true for all products stored
in plastic bottles, not merely water. Sports drinks, sodas, fruit drinks and
even "healthy" smoothie drinks packaged in plastic all share a common risk
of BPA contamination.
Bottled water vs. public water infrastructure
The widespread shift towards bottled water products is increasingly causing
consumers to lose faith in public water infrastructure, which ultimately
leads to public reluctance to support investment in public water supplies.
This concerns many cities who are worried that a lack of public support will
cause funding for water infrastructure to erode.
These people tend to describe treated municipal water as remarkably pristine
and safe for human consumption. In my opinion, however, tap water should
never be swallowed without filtering it, since tap water contains scary
levels of toxic chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride, a dangerous water
additive chemical often contaminated with arsenic. (Click here to learn the
truth about water fluoridation.)
So I wouldn't drink from the public water supply in the first place, but
neither do I rely on bottled water. I use a water filtration system to clean
tap water before I drink it. (Coincidentally, this is similar to what
PepsiCo does when creating Aquafina water, except PepsiCo uses plastic
bottles, where I only drink out of glass or stainless steel.)
You can get clean public water in places like Hawaii, Oregon and anywhere
that's close to the mountains, but most folks in first world nations are
getting tap water that's far from pristine. The public water infrastructure
in the U.S. may be among the best in the world, but that's not saying much.
I won't even shower in U.S. public water without using a chlorine filter on
my shower head. (Recommended brand: Aquasana at http://www.aquasana.com )
My view on PepsiCo
Since this story has much to do with PepsiCo, I thought I would offer my
personal opinion on this corporation. In my opinion, PepsiCo is a highly
destructive corporation that is partially responsible for obesity, diabetes,
depression and bone disorders among hundreds of millions of people around
the world. Through its aggressive (and deceptive, in my opinion) marketing
campaigns, lack of corporate ethics and ready willingness to exploit human
beings for profit, PepsiCo has risen to be one of the most financially
profitable yet ethically bankrupt organizations on the planet.
If PepsiCo were to disappear from the face of the earth tomorrow, humanity
would be healthier the very next day. PepsiCo's brands include: (followed by
my opinion statement about that particular brand)
Frito-Lay: Dangerous junk food that contributes to obesity, heart disease,
cancer, depression and other serious diseases.
Pepsi-Cola: Toxic beverages that destroy bone mineral density and poison
consumers with chemical sweeteners in diet drinks.
Gatorade: Crap sports drinks that contain artificial colors made from
Tropicana: A low-end fruit juice brand engaged in deceptive labeling for
many of its products.
Quaker: This is perhaps the only tolerable brand in the PepsiCo portfolio.
Oatmeal is essentially good for you, although instant oats and all the
sugars found in many oatmeal products make it a rather high-glycemic food
that's not recommended for most people (especially diabetics or obese
Put it all together and you have a collection of some of the least healthy
foods and beverages on the market today. When future historians examine
today's epidemics of obesity and diabetes, they will no doubt scrutinize the
role of companies like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, both of which are partly to
blame for modern disease epidemics. Both companies, by the way, continue to
engage in routine marketing of junk foods and sodas to children.
Pepsico is a corporation that won't even list the acrylamide content in
their fried foods. Nor will it publicly admit that high-fructose corn syrup
has any link whatsoever to obesity. PepsiCo, in my opinion, is a corporation
living in a deviant reality, unwilling to take responsibility for its role
in poisoning the population through its toxic food and beverage products.
That's my personal opinion of PepsiCo, its brands and its products.
Personally, I wouldn't buy anything made by PepsiCo. I have no desire to
financially reward this company by purchasing its products. If anything, we
should all be boycotting PepsiCo products (and Coca-Cola, for that matter)
and getting our water from somewhere else.
When traveling through airports, of course, I am sometimes forced to buy
Aquafina or Dasani, as nothing else is available. This is the only time
you'll ever see me drinking out of a PepsiCo bottle.
If I were in charge around here, I would immediately ban all advertising of
junk foods, sodas, snack foods, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals and other
harmful substances. It's the only sane thing to do if we care about the
future of our children. Of course, such advertising bans will never actually
take place because corporations run the government. See my CounterThink
Cartoon, Government of the People for a humorous depiction of this current
state of affairs.
And as far as Pepsi's water brand goes, I think it should be renamed to