Britvic Ireland told BeverageDaily.com today that the ‘off odor’ problem that led it to recall a third batch of Ballygowan mineral water yesterday related to a small-scale quality issue and not a safety concern.
The Food Standards Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) both announced a further voluntary recall yesterday, this time of one Ballygowan 250ml multipack batch.
Previous recall notices from both authorities, posted on August 31, related to 750ml Ballygowan Water and Still Ballygowan Sports Water in 1 liter bottles; the water is drawn from a single source near Newcastle West, County Limerick, Ireland.
A Britvic Ireland spokesman said that all three recalls were a “purely precautionary” measure on quality grounds, and that water affected within the three batches was safe to drink.
Although he conceded that the timing was unfortunate for Britvic – given the recent MagiCap recall, which observers believe sparked AG Barr’s approach to its bigger British rival regarding a possible merger – he said the off odor problem was a known issue relating to natural spring water.
“The update was prompted by Ballygowan and is a purely precautionary measure related to the initial trade recall,” the spokesman said.
Ballygowan had produced over 12.5m bottles of mineral water since May, so the likelihood of a consumer encountering an affected bottle was around 100,000 to one, he added.
“Just to give a sense of context, the trade recall relating to the 750ml and 1 liter bottles was about 2,000 bottles, so it was pretty small. The 250ml multipack was actually a smaller batch,” he said.
“And even if they were to do so, you might get the odor and I might not. Besides which, it’s a natural phenomenon, caused by the minerals in the water reacting with oxygen.
“It doesn’t happen in sparkling water, because the carbonate that provides effervescence takes the oxygen out of the water. So it’s a known issue but has a low incidence rate within the industry and in relation to these recalls,” the Britvic spokesman added.