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Nearly every popular U.S. brand of spring or mineral water that I've seen has a kosher certification symbol on the bottle. Amonng them are Perrier and Saratoga (mineral / sparkling) and Poland Spring and Fiji (Spring Water).

All these brands are bottled at the "source" according to the label. Even without that labeling, it is just water, as far as I can tell. I'm unaware that any of these companies bottle anything else in their plant (I have been to the Saratoga plant, and they don't seem to bottle or have anything else) besides water.

What concerns are there that would require the certification?

  • many smaller water companies don't have dedicated trucks to transport the water. They rent/hire trucking companies to transport the water. Those trucks are often used for other liquids as well. – Menachem Dec 22 '15 at 6:15
  • @Menachem - so what? if the other liquids contaminated the water, nobody would buy it. – Danny Schoemann Dec 22 '15 at 8:50
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    I have been told that many companies charge the hechsher to the advertising budget. Whether they need it or not, it is a small proportion of that line item so it is worth it to them. – sabbahillel Dec 22 '15 at 9:44
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    @DannySchoemann: If the previous liquid stayed in the tank for 24 hours (or much less if it was a davar charif), and then subsequently the water stayed in the tank for 24 hours, it would be a problem of Kavush. oukosher.org/blog/kosher-professionals/… oukosher.org/blog/kosher-professionals/… – Menachem Dec 22 '15 at 17:02
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    @Menachem - you're talking about UNbottled water, not water bottled at the source. You should make your comment (with sources) into an answer. – Danny Schoemann Dec 23 '15 at 8:52
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The OU says water does not need supervision. My guess is that it is not expensive to obtain the hekhsher and perceived as adding value so the manufacturers do it anyway.

Aish has a nice explanation for why manufactured products are really more complex than we think and even "simple products" need to be supervised.

It says regarding water

In the U.S., almost all bottled beverages must be pasteurized. Your spring water may run through the same bottling facility as non-kosher grape juice or drinks with non-kosher flavoring.

Although as we know from whisky if there is wine used on the same equipment without intention to add flavoring or color, it doesn't really matter and/or is mevatel beshihim.

That is likely why water is on many kosher lists of products one can use without supervision.

  • "My guess is that it is not expensive to obtain the hekhsher". From what I have heard from restaurant owners and some small businesses, it actually can be VERY expensive. Perhaps, in terms of a large company or crop. cost, maybe, THEY don't consider it expensive, and if it gains them a large Jewish market share, they vuew it as a good investment. – DanF Dec 22 '15 at 4:17
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    @DanF you are of course right for a restaurant or small business. I meant not expensive for a water producer since it must be very simple to supervise if you only do water there (as you mentioned for Saratoga) or if you have drinks you manufacture anyway with the need for a hekhsher – mbloch Dec 22 '15 at 4:18
  • The quote from Aish is misleading, as it implies that perhaps a hechsher is needed, whereas the initial quote from the OU states unequivocally that it is not needed. – mevaqesh Dec 22 '15 at 15:13
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    +1 Perhaps consider making that more clear in the answer. – mevaqesh Dec 22 '15 at 15:20
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    The OU link talks about Passover supervision. I know that something Kosher for Passover,is kosher year round, assuming the same cert. mark. However, when it states "even without any Kosher supervision", it is unclear that this means "any Kosher for PASSOVER supervision." I may be reading too much into this, but it may be something to verify with them. Also, with any product, processing and formulas can change, seasonally. Years ago, Welch's grape juice made batches that were Kosher for Passover certified, but were NOT kosher year round. I doubt this happens with H2O, but it could. – DanF Dec 22 '15 at 15:42

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