All bottled water is the same

Mineral water, spring water, table water and Co.

Who will inform me about the quality of my drinking water?

The water suppliers are responsible for the quality of your drinking water. The companies regularly check the drinking water so that it arrives at you in perfect condition. The Drinking Water Ordinance defines limit values ​​and provisions for numerous substances. In the event of excessive exposure to nitrate or drug residues, for example, the causes must be eliminated. However, the water suppliers are only responsible up to the water meter in the house.

Drinking water in Germany is of good to very good quality and is checked regularly. Ask the water supplier about the results of the water analysis; they are usually published on the Internet.

How do natural mineral water, medicinal, spring and table water differ?

Natural mineral water must be of original purity. It comes from underground water sources that are protected from pollution. Bottling takes place on site. Mineral water is characterized by its typical content of minerals, trace elements or carbon dioxide.

Spring and table water are not mineral waters. The limit values ​​of the Drinking Water Ordinance apply to them.

Spring water comes from underground sources. It does not have to be officially recognized and does not have to contain a constant amount of minerals. It is subject to the Mineral and Table Water Ordinance (MTVO) and must therefore meet the requirements for drinking water. Spring water does not have the same high purity requirements as mineral water.

Table water is mostly a treated drinking water, it can be mixed with minerals and carbonic acid. Table water can be obtained anywhere, including from different types of water. In contrast to medicinal, spring and mineral water, it may also be offered via tap systems.

Medicinal water is considered a medicinal product and, like all medicinal products, is subject to the Medicines Act. It has to prove through studies that it has preventive, soothing or healing properties due to its natural composition of minerals. In all other points, it must meet the same criteria as mineral water. It should only be drunk after consulting a doctor.

Mineral water is the only food that is officially recognized. To this end, numerous tests must be carried out on the quality of the water. The requirements are regulated in the Mineral and Table Water Ordinance.

How problematic is uranium in natural mineral water?

Uranium occurs naturally in different concentrations in the soil and is considered to be toxic to the kidneys. Depending on the region and rock layers, drinking or natural mineral water can also contain the undesired substance.

For drinking water, 10 micrograms of uranium per liter are set as a limit value. There is no limit value for mineral water. Only water that advertises "suitable for the preparation of baby food" must not contain more than two micrograms of uranium per liter.

Your water supplier will inform you about the uranium content of your drinking water. It does not have to be stated on mineral water bottles. Check with the manufacturer.

What does "still" mineral water mean?

The term "still" is not regulated by law. There are mineral waters with this indication that contain little or no carbon dioxide. In the small print you can read whether it is contained naturally or whether it has been added.

From the point of view of consumer advice centers, information such as "still", "medium", "classic" should be defined with the amount of carbon dioxide contained.

Still or sparkling water - which one is right for me?

Opinions differ on the carbon dioxide. Some swear by its refreshing effect, for others the bubbling water is rather unpleasant and intolerable.

In favor of carbon dioxide, the fact that it stimulates digestion in a mild way speaks for itself. For example, if you have problems with too little stomach acid, carbonated mineral water can help.

In the case of a sensitive stomach, it is better to avoid carbon dioxide and rather to use water with a lot of hydrogen carbonate. Hydrogen carbonate, also called bicarbonate, neutralizes excess acids that are formed during normal metabolism.

Which water you prefer depends on personal preference and tolerance.

How much should I drink a day?

Drinking enough is essential. Water is important for the metabolism and, among other things, regulates our body temperature. Even a slight loss of fluid can have an impact on physical and mental performance. We therefore recommend at least 1.5 liters of fluid per day.

This is how it works: Drink a large glass of water with every meal and always have something to drink within reach. Unsweetened herbal and fruit teas or juice spritzers in a ratio of 1: 3 are also good thirst quenchers.

Healthy people don't need to worry about drinking too much. To do this, six liters would have to be drunk within a very short time, which is almost impossible.

Does mineral water make a significant contribution to the supply of minerals?

Mineral waters are healthy thirst quenchers, but few are rich in minerals. We take in these substances primarily from other foods. Ideally, three handfuls of vegetables and two handfuls of fruit are on the menu every day. Whole grain products and reduced-fat milk and milk products round off a balanced diet.

The thirst can then be quenched with any water.

I don't drink milk or eat dairy products. What alternative is there for my calcium supply?

A good source are mineral waters with a calcium content of over 150 mg per liter, often labeled as rich in calcium. Incidentally, plant-based foods such as kale, broccoli, almonds and sesame also contain quite a lot of calcium.

A sufficient supply of calcium from an early age is important for building bones. Milk and dairy products are good sources of calcium and should be on the daily menu.

Some mineral waters advertise a 2: 1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. What does that mean?

In this mixing ratio, the body can optimally absorb the two minerals from the water. Incidentally, calcium and magnesium are found in these quantities in many mineral waters, even if they are not advertised as prominently. Compare the offer!

The balance of minerals in the body can get out of whack. Particular care should be taken when taking mineral supplements. Consultation with the doctor is important.

I have to watch out for the salt content of my food! Does that also apply to water?

Salt-sensitive people are better off choosing low-sodium water that contains less than 200 mg per liter. In our overview you will find the foods in which the most salt is hidden.

A current study by the Robert Koch Institute on salt consumption shows that the majority of Germans consume too much salt (sodium chloride). Too much favors the development of cardiovascular diseases.

Are expensive mineral waters better than cheap ones?

There is no general answer to which mineral water is better. The quality is determined by various factors. These include the taste, the content of minerals, but also the contamination with germs or pollutants.

Random samples from Stiftung Warentest and Ökotest prove time and again that "expensive does not mean better".

Are PET bottles a problem for health?

The plastic polyethylene terephthalate is produced without the help of plasticizers. PET is therefore considered to be relatively uncritical. Although the health assessment of PET has not yet been clearly completed, experts see no need to dispense with water from PET bottles. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has compiled selected questions and answers about PET bottles. If you want to be on the safe side, you can use water in glass bottles or from the tap.

Do not leave PET bottles in the sun. Heat and UV radiation basically release more undesirable substances from plastics.

Which bottles are particularly environmentally friendly?

According to the Federal Environment Agency, returnable bottles have the least impact on the environment. The decisive factor is how often they can be refilled. This is possible up to 50 times for glass and up to 25 times for reusable PET. Both are the same in terms of environmental compatibility if they come from the region. PET performs better on long journeys because it is lighter than glass.

Water from the region also protects the environment. Beverage markets offer more choice than supermarkets.

How can I distinguish one-way from returnable bottles?

Often you have to look closely to tell the two apart. Until 2003, deposit was a clear feature for reusable containers, and only reusable bottles in crates were offered. Today, both are also possible for one-way bottles. Disposable packaging must be clearly marked as subject to a deposit. The Deutsche Pfandsystem GmbH (DPG) logo is usually found on the banderole.

You can find more information on this here: "One-way or multi-way - total confusion"

The trend is towards buying mineral water in single-use plastic bottles. They are not refilled, but shredded. This raw material can be recycled, sometimes new PET bottles or bags and clothing, for example, are created again.

Is it true that mineral water is used to "cheat" in gastronomy?

If you explicitly order mineral water, the drink must be served in the bottle. It may only be opened at the table so that there is also something on it. Experience shows that closed bottles are not always served. An already opened bottle or the water in the glass can be returned. Because anyone who demands mineral water and pays dearly does not want to drink cheaper table water.

By the way: In contrast to mineral and spring water, innkeepers are allowed to pour table water from tap systems in glasses. This water must also be labeled as table water on the menu or drinks menu.

My mineral water doesn't taste like it used to! What can I do?

You are entitled to food that is free from defects. If the mineral water does not taste as usual, you can complain to the dealer. The receipt is an important piece of evidence. The defective goods must be replaced by flawless ones. If this is not possible, you will get your money back.

If your complaints are not taken seriously or deficiencies are not permanently remedied, contact the responsible official food control.