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FDA NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
P07-52
March 24, 2007

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


FDA Warns Again About Arsenic in Mineral Water
Five Brands Recalled Within Last Month

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is re-issuing its warning to consumers not to drink "Jermuk" brand mineral water due to the risk of exposure to arsenic, a toxic substance and a known cause of cancer in humans. The agency is providing this information again to consumers due to an expansion of the recall initiated by the products' importers and distributors. "Jermuk" water is imported from Armenia and distributed under different labels in California. Five brands of these products have been recalled since March 7.

The latest recall, which was initiated on March 16 by the product's distributor, Andreas Andreasyan DBA Arnaz & Nelli Co., North Hollywood, CA., is for "Jermuk Natural Mineral Water Fortified with Gas from the Spring". This product is additionally labeled as "Produced by Sam-Har Co. Republic of Armenia" and "Exclusive Distributor in USA: Arnaz & Nelli Inc., CA 91605".

Although arsenic is a well known human poison, there is little chance that someone would become seriously ill after consuming the recalled products over a brief period of time (days to weeks). However, it is likely that the person would experience nausea, abdominal pain and possibly vomiting, which are indicators of arsenic toxicity.

FDA has sampled the contents of 500 milliliter (mL) green glass and/or plastic bottles of all of these brands and found they contained 454-674 micrograms of arsenic per liter of water. FDA's standard of quality for bottled water allows no more than 10 micrograms per liter.

The agency is investigating whether other bottle sizes or types of packaging contain similarly tainted products, and will continue working to remove all such bottled water from the market.

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 may provide additional updates as more information becomes available.

The following products were recalled on March 7:

  • "Jermuk Original Sparkling Natural Mineral Water Fortified With Natural Gas From The Spring". The product is in glass bottles and is additionally labeled as "2006 Jermuk Mayr Gortsaran CJSC" and "Imported by: Zetlian Bakery Inc." The importer and distributor is Zetlian Bakery, Inc., Pico Rivera, CA.
  • "JERMUK,1951, NATURAL MINERAL WATER, JERMUK MAYR GORTSARAN CJSC." The product is in plastic bottles which are additionally labeled as "Imported by: Zetlian Bakery Inc." The importer and distributor is Zetlian Bakery, Inc., Pico Rivera, CA.
  • "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". The product is being recalled by Importers Direct Wholesale Company, Los Angeles, CA.
  • "Jermuk, Natural Mineral Water Sparkling". The product, recalled on March 7 is additionally labeled as "Bottled by Jermuk Group CJSC" and "Sale Agent Kradjian Importing Co. Inc." in Glendale, CA. The product is being recalled by Kradjian Importing Company, Glendale, CA.

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