Food experts warn against exposing bottled water to sunlight

Food experts in the country have warned against exposing bottled water to sunlight, saying it could adversely affect the plastic bottles and the shelf life of the content.

Speaking in an interview with The Daily Times in Lagos recently , one of the food experts and First Vice- President, Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST), Mr. Oluwole Toye, said from safety point of view, “When the plastic gets hot, the air intake increases and this reduces the shelf life of the content.”

He explained: “If bottled water is left in the sun for a long period, it is not safe. From the perspective of shelf life, bottled water exposed to sunlight overtime, is not safe enough or not as safe as it should be when kept in an ambient environment.

“So, it is not advisable and should not be debated, the effect of sunlight on the shelf life of bottled water.”

Citing the country’s weather condition, Toye however, said: “Because we have a peculiar environment in Nigeria, most of these waters do not stay too long before they are sold off. But from general safety perspective, the producers have the task of educating the distributors not to leave them under the sun.”

The NIFST Vice- President, therefore, called on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), to carry out continuous surveillance and monitoring of registered packaged drinking water in the country to ensure their proper strorage.

“As an Insitute, we have offered our services to NAFDAC because we have our members all over the federation. So,NIFST is out there to assist in ensuring food and water safety in the country. “There is need for constant monitoring to ensure that the food and water we consume in Nigeria are safe and properly stored”, Toye said.

He concluded:”What needs to be done is create awareness down the value chain. Let the man on the street know some of these facts, let retailers know these facts, let consumers know these facts. Let the people be educated.”

Another food expert, Mr. Nureni Opaleye, also said water was not supposed to be stored in the heat of the sun owing to the fact that there could be a possible reaction with the packaging materials- Poly- Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles.

Opaleye who is a Scientific & Regulatory Consultant at Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Limited, said though PET bottles were not produced from materials that are injurious to health, bottled water should however,not be kept in sunlight.

“But in the area of sachet water, I see challenges because most of the materials used for the production of sachets calls for concern. Also, the waters themselves, most of them are not safe. Regulatory agencies should be more strigent in sachet water regulation in the country”, he said.

To stop the habit of exposing table water to the sun in Nigeria especially amongst retailers, the water expert, called for aggressive education of marketers and retailers on the right condition and atmosphere to store bottled water.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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