Background: Consumption of bottled water is increasing rapidly in developing countries especially among the middle and high income earners as it is generally perceived to be pure, clean and of good quality. This has led to the sale of different brands of bottled water in the market. Although disease outbreaks due to contaminated bottled water are rare, any contamination may pose a unique hazard because of the widespread distribution.
Objective: The study was designed to evaluate the bacteriological quality of the bulk packaged drinking water marketed in Mangalore, Karnataka.
Material and Methods: One hundred ten samples of bulk packaged drinking water of 7 different brands were selected for the present study. Two hundred ml of water sample was collected from each container with sterile precautions. The water samples were subjected to bacteriological study using total viable count, presence - absence test, presumptive coliform count and differential coliform count.
Result: Thirty out of 110 samples had viable count much higher than specified by Bureau of Indian Standard. Twenty eight samples were found to be positive in presence absence test. Further all the 28 samples showed the presence of coliforms and 26 samples confirmed the presence of Escherichia coli.
Conclusion: Packaged drinking water marketed as bulk quantity need not to be safe always. It is advisable to go for the packaged drinking water sold in smaller quantity and with ISI certified brands.
Key Words: Bulk packaged, E.coli, Viable count, Presence - Absence test, Presumptive coliform count, Differential coliform count