Whether you are battling the heat and humidity of a dry sunny day or navigating through puddles during our monsoons, bottled water is quite literally a life saver, providing you with a safe supply of drinking water. One of the primary reasons for which most Indians buy bottled water is to protect themselves from contamination and waterborne illnesses that are almost endemic to the country. However, this also raises questions about water safety in packaged bottles.
Does Water Go Bad Or Degrade With Time?
“Water stored in a sealed bottle can be kept indefinitely, as water does not deteriorate or go bad with time”
On those occasions when you have forgotten a glass of water out overnight and dared to take a sip the following morning, it may seem pretty conclusive that water does go bad. After all, why else would the water start to taste a bit weird?
This change in taste actually has more to do with air exposure, as the glass was left out overnight. With oxygenation, water becomes more acidic, but the water also starts to play host to dust and microbes. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the water is unsafe yet, but the longer it’s left outside, the greater the risk of contamination.
When it comes to bottled water, you really don’t have much to worry about, as a sealed bottle will keep water safe from dust, microbes, and oxygenation.Â Technically, this means that water can be stored indefinitely, depending on how safely you store it.
Why Does Bottled Water Have Expiry Dates?
“Manufacturers include expiry dates to avoid liability in case of changes in water taste, to meet food safety regulations, & as part of a larger code that also includes important tracking information”
Although safely stored water will not go bad, there’s a catch. The plastic of the bottle itself will start to degrade with time, leaching chemicals into the water. While this may sound terrifying, it doesn’t make the water toxic, but it does alter the taste significantly. This poses a problem for manufacturers, who can be held accountable to consumers. This is why an expiry date is added to bottles — if you keep it for too long and there happens to be any taste change, the manufacturer cannot be held liable.
Another reason for expiry dates on bottled water is government regulation. All consumable food products need to have expiration dates and this obviously holds true for water as well. Moreover, expiry dates on bottles are just a part of the code that also provides information on the date of manufacture, bottling plant, and so on. So, while the expiry date itself may be meaningless, other information in the code can help suppliers track products for recalls in case of contamination or bottling errors.
Now that you know what that expiry date on water bottles means, there’s something else that you should consider before you quench your thirst. The manner in which bottled water is stored affects the water quality, making proper storage essential. Avoid keeping bottled water in direct sunlight or in places with high levels of heat and keep it far away from petrochemicals and pesticides to avoid contamination. So, follow these safe practices for water storage and you can safely ignore those expiration dates!
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