ONE of Honiara’s bottled water companies, VFresh Beverage Production, has been given a clean bill of product quality.
Tests the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) carried out on VFresh bottled waters this month confirmed this.
“…yes I can confirm that we’ve done tests on VFresh water and the results show they’ve met the health requirement,” head of NPHL Dickon Manongi confirmed to the Solomon Star.
In past weeks, VFresh has been named in social media postings as one of the bottled water companies that failed to meet minimum health and safety requirements.
In other words, its bottled waters were not safe for consumption.
The social media allegation, which VFresh believed was propagated by its competitors, has badly affected the company’s sales.
But VFresh spokesman Fred Tuita said the test results provided by NPHL speak for itself.
“I wish to assure the public that V Fresh employs the latest state-of-the-art technology in its water bottling system,” Tuita stated.
“In fact health and safety is at the heart of our business,” he added.
“The water we produce passes through a total of 50 water filters before it is bottled and packed for sale.
“We use 44 small and six large water filters. These were imported from Japan and the United States.
“These filers are replaced every month to ensure our product quality is maintained.”
Furthermore, Tuita claimed Honiara City Council health inspectors have been doing regular inspections and tests on their facility and products.
“We would already be out of business if our products fail to meet the health requirements because city council inspectors have been checking and testing our product every now and then.
“But the fact that we are still allowed to operate means we have been meeting the standard and requirement set out under our laws.
“After the social media allegation that our product is not safe for consumption, we decided to engage the National Public Health Laboratory in further tests.
“The results, as you can see, speak for itself.
“All along, our product is safe and fit for human consumption,” Tuita stated, pointing to the test results NPHL has provided.
VFresh offers the cheapest bottled water in Honiara.
Tuita explained just because their prices are cheaper doesn’t mean their product is of low quality.
“In fact our products are of the highest quality,” he said.
“When we came into production in 2014, we decided to price our product at rates that ordinary Solomon Islanders can afford.
“This not only boosts our sales, but also forced our competitors to bring their prices down too,” Tuita stated.
He added apart from supplying the local market, VFresh also exports its product to the Pacific island nation of Nauru.
“We export four containers of bottled water to Nauru every month.
“Our buyers in Nauru wanted more but our priority is to supply the local market.
“Nauru won’t accept our product if it is not of quality.
“The fact that they want more of our bottled waters is a testament to the quality of our product,” Tuita said.
Earlier, the Honiara City Council’s chief health inspector George Titiulu defended all water bottled companies operating in Honiara.
He said social media claims that only two bottled water companies are meeting the requirement were untrue.
“In fact all of them have been meeting our health standards based on laboratory tests that we’ve been carrying out,” Titiulu said.
He stressed his division has been conducting weekly tests and monitoring all the bottled water outlets in Honiara.
“So the news about some of the bottled water sold in our shops being unsafe and contaminated is not true,” he said.
He said all the water producing firms have complied with strict rules set out under the Pure Food Act and Pure Food Controlled Regulation 2010
“Our water monitoring schedule is done every week to the different water suppliers in the city. This covers all types of public water systems,” Titiulu added.
“So the message here is not to listen to any information coming from uncertified sources.”
The Solomon Star understands all the bottled water companies obtained their waters from bore holes they’ve drilled within their premises.
These are then filtered, processed and packed for sale.
By GEORGE GWAMANI