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French prosecutors probe Nestle over mineral water treatments

Nestle admitted treating mineral water before the report was disclosed in the media (JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN)
Nestle admitted treating mineral water before the report was disclosed in the media (JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN)

French prosecutors said on Wednesday they had opened an investigation into suspected fraudulent practices by the waters division of Swiss food giant Nestle, after it admitted treating water for its top French brands including Perrier and Vittel.

The probe announced by prosecutors in the Epinal region of eastern France came after a government probe reported by media said almost one in three mineral water brands in France undergoes purification treatment supposed to be used only on tap water.

The investigation was ordered following a complaint by France's ARS health regulator, prosecutor Frederic Nahon told AFP, without specifying when it was opened.

Investigations "are still in progress, in particular to establish whether the label 'natural' mineral water is misleading or not," he added.

Regional daily Vosges Matin said the investigation had been opened in January 2023.

Nestle Waters said this week it said it had passed some waters, such as Perrier and Vittel, through ultraviolet light and active carbon filters "to guarantee food safety".

Nestle said it "lost track of the importance of conforming to regulations" but that all the brands concerned now fulfil French requirements.

French law based on a European Union directive bars disinfection of mineral water, which is supposed to be of naturally high quality before bottling.

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