Family, Youth and Community Sciences News

Research-based information, resources, and tips for families, consumers, and educators; provided by the faculty of the University of Florida/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.

Differences Between Bottled Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water

Written By: Amy Simonne , Assistant Professor, Food Safety and Quality

Question: When stocking up on water for the upcoming hurricane season) is there are difference between commercially bottled “drinking water” and bottled “spring water?” I’m just not sure.

According to the FDA rules, bottled water are classified into different categories including artesian water, mineral water, purified water, sparkling water, and spring water. For a specific definition, please see table one in Bottled Water Regulation and the FDA .

Bottled water may be treated (processed) in various manners to eliminate microbial hazard. However, one should keep in mind that bottled water is not sterile, unless otherwise indicated. This does not mean that bottled water will cause illness. There has not been a documented major outbreak of illness from bottled water in the U.S. However, every so often, there are some recalls of the product for various reasons. Check for FDA recalls often.

As for quality issues, water differs widely from one location to the other, and in some case tap water may actually have lower amount of specific chemicals than some bottle water. To know your local water qulaity, check local provider annual report.

According to the statistics, bottled water is a pretty safe item. Therefore, choosing bottled water depends on the personal preference, taste, price and other factors.


Ronald H. Schmidt, Keith L. Schneider, Renée Goodrich, Amarat Simonne, and Douglas L. Archer, "Safe Handling of Food and Water in a Hurricane or Related Disaster", EDIS, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

United States Food and Drug Administration, "Bottled Water Regulation and the FDA", Reprinted from Food Safety Magazine August/September 2002 issue

Florida Bureau of Water Programs

Phil Lempert, "Is Your Bottled Water Coming From a Faucet?" MSNBC, July 21, 2004, (accessed May 26,2006)

Bottle Water Drinking Standards, U.S. Code (08/18/2005) TITLE 21 , CHAPTER 9, SUBCHAPTER IV , § 349.

International Bottled Water Association