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Facts that you always wanted
to know about water

What a label tells you about the mineral water... 🧐

The label on a bottle of mineral water tells you a lot about the water and where it comes from. While some information is required by law, manufacturers can also provide voluntary information about the world's most precious beverage. Find out what that is.

In general, the EU Food Information to Consumers Regulation (FIC) and the national Mineral and Table Water Ordinance regulate what must appear on the label of a mineral water. To better illustrate the requirements, let's take a look at the mandatory information using the example of Nürburg Quelle (It just so happens that I have the water right here on my desk).

  1. Source name: The source name is the name on the bottle in large letters. The source name is the same as the mineral water name. In our example, the source name is "Nürburg Quelle". For Gerolsteiner, the source name would be "Gerolsteiner".

  2. Location of the spring: In our example it is Dreis, where Mineralbrunnen Hermann Kreuter GmbH is located.

  3. Name and address of the mineral spring: Mineralbrunnen Hermann Kreuter GmbH, 54552 Dreis-Brück

  4. The designation of the product: This indicates the carbonation level, such as still, medium or sparkling. Among sparkling mineral waters, there are three differences:

    1. "Natural sparkling mineral water - The water contains the same amount of carbon dioxide in the bottle as it does at the spring. This is often the case with mineral water from volcanic areas.

    2. "Natural mineral water with added natural spring carbon dioxide" - In this case, natural spring carbon dioxide has been added to the water. For example, it may be more than is present at the source. The added carbon dioxide must come from the same spring.

    3. "Carbonated natural mineral water" - In this example, carbon dioxide has been added to the water from a natural spring (not the company's own spring) or industrially produced carbon dioxide. In the Nürburg Quelle example, external carbon dioxide was added to the water.

  5. Analytical extract: The analytical composition of the water must be provided, indicating the characteristic minerals of the water. The most important minerals are magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, fluoride, chloride, sulfate and bicarbonate. In our example, the mineral source also indicates the silicic acid and the total mineralization. For a Water Sommelier, the analytical composition is one of the most important markings on the bottle label. This information allows the Sommelier to make an initial tasting and haptic classification of the mineral water. For example, a mineral water with a high sodium chloride content tastes salty, while a water with a high calcium and magnesium content tastes sweet.

  6. Institute and date of analysis: Next to the mineralization, consumers will find information about the institute that performed the analysis and the date of the analysis. In our case, the Fresenius Institute performed the analysis on 15/06/2010. So it was done almost 13 years ago. This does not mean that no further analyses have been done since then, but only that the mineralization of the water has not changed since then.

  7. Best before date: In our example this is 10/27/2023.

  8. Volume: 1.0 liter

In addition to the information required by law, mineral springs also have the option of providing voluntary information. For example, with respect to mineral content, the following information (based on one liter) may be provided:

  • Very low in minerals: ≤ 50 mg minerals

  • Low in minerals: ≥ 500 mg minerals

  • High in minerals: ≥ 1.500 mg minerals

  • High in sodium: > 200 mg sodium

  • High in calcium: > 150 mg calcium

  • High in magnesium: > 50 mg magnesium

  • High in chlorid: > 200 mg chlorid

  • High in sulfate: > 200 mg sulfate

  • High in bicarbonat: > 600 mg bicarbonat

  • High in fluoride: > 1 mg fluoride

  • Low in sodium: < 20 mg sodium

Some mineral springs also advertise that their water is suitable for preparing baby food. This is because babies and young children cannot process large amounts of sodium and sulfate properly. Babies' kidneys can only excrete very small amounts of sodium, while too much sulfate has a laxative effect. For these reasons, the following amounts per liter should not be exceeded:

  • Sodium: 20 mg

  • Nitrates: 10 mg

  • Nitrite: 0,02 mg

  • Sulfate: 240 mg

  • Fluoride: 0,7 mg

  • Manganese: 0,05 mg

  • Arsenic: 0,005 mg

For healing waters, different or additional guidelines apply, as they are subject to the Medicinal Products Act. Among other things, the following information must be provided:

  • Official registration number

  • Analytical extract containing the active ingredients

  • Indications for use

  • Possible contraindications and side effects and

  • Consumption recommendation

I hope that this article will make you take a closer look at mineral water labels the next time you are out shopping, and maybe even try a new water to evaluate its taste and sensory qualities.

Many greetings

Timo Bausch

Certified Water Sommelier


About Timo Bausch

My fascination with mineral waters began in 2016 during my training as a Water Sommelier. Since then, I have been exploring the characteristics and diversity of water. In addition to pairing water with food, wine, coffee and other beverages, I offer the creation of water menus for restaurants and hotels. Furthermore, it is also important to me to draw attention to the importance of drinking water.


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