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FDA NEWS RELEASE

May 31, 2007: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers in the West Chester, Pennsylvania area not to drink any "Jermuk" brand mineral water due to the risk of exposure to arsenic, a toxic substance and a know cause of cancer in humans. Jermuk Classic Medicinal Table Natural Sparkling Mineral Water in 0.5 liter green translucent glass bottles under the Jermuk Group brand label was recalled on 5/1/07 by AA Impex Group, Philadelphia, PA. Approximately, 200 bottles of the product were sold at the Great Pumpkin Corporation, 607 East Market Street, West Chester, PA, a retail store. FDA has sampled the product and found that it contains 536-539 micrograms of arsenic per liter of water. FDA's standard of quality for bottled water allows no more than 10 micrograms per liter. Product can be returned to the Great Pumpkin for a refund. There have been no illnesses reported at this time. Consumers who drank this water and have concerns are encouraged to contact their health care provider.

This release was revised on March 9, 2007. Revisions were made to the first paragraph.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
P07-39
March 7, 2007

Media Inquiries:
Michael Herndon, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries:
888-SAFEFOOD


FDA Warns Consumers Not to Drink "Jermuk" Brand Mineral Water
Firms Recall Product

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to drink certain brands of mineral water imported from Armenia due to the risk of exposure to arsenic, a toxic substance and known cause of cancer in humans. While arsenic is a well known human poison there is little chance that someone would become gravely ill if they consumed this product over a brief period of time (days to weeks). However, it is likely that they would experience nausea, abdominal pain and possibly vomiting which are clear indicators of arsenic toxicity, and therefore consumers should avoid ingestion of this bottled mineral water.

The products were distributed nationwide. The following products are being recalled:

  • Zetlian Bakery, Inc., Pico Rivera, CA is recalling product with labels that read:
    "Jermuk Original Sparkling Natural Mineral Water Fortified With Natural Gas From The Spring". The product is additionally labeled as “2006 Jermuk Mayr Gortsaran CJSC” and “Imported by: Zetlian Bakery Inc.”
  • Importers Direct Wholesale Company Los Angeles, CA is recalling the product with labels that read: "Jermuk Sodium Calcium Bicarbonate and Sulphate Mineral Water". The product is additionally labeled as “Bottled by ARPI Plant, Republic of Armenia” and “Exclusive US importer and distributor: Importers Direct Wholesale Co., Los Angeles, CA”.
  • Kradjian Importing Company, Glendale, CA is recalling the product with labels that read: "Jermuk, Natural Mineral Water Sparkling". The product is additionally labeled as “Bottled by Jermuk Group CJSC” and “Sale Agent Kradjian Importing Co. Inc.” in Glendale, CA

FDA sampled 500 milliliter (mL) green glass bottles and detected the problem. FDA is investigating whether other sizes or packaging are involved.

FDA testing of this water revealed 500 – 600 micrograms of arsenic per liter. FDA’s standard of quality bottled water allows no more than 10 micrograms per liter.

There have been no illnesses reported at this time. Consumers who drank this water and have concerns are encouraged to contact their health care provider. 

FDA will continue working to remove all such bottled water products from the marketplace. FDA may provide additional updates as more information becomes available.

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