Considering the popularity of bottled mineral water among indigenous Fijians and tourists alike, a study was carried out to determine the bacteriological quality of different bottled waters. A risk assessment was also carried out. Seventy-five samples of bottled mineral water belonging to three domestic brands and 25 samples of one imported brand were analysed for heterotrophic plate count (HPC) bacteria and faecal coliforms. HPC counts were determined at 22°C and 37°C using R2A medium and a membrane filtration technique was used to determine the faecal coliform (FC) load in 100 ml of water on mFC agar. Between 28 and 68% of the samples of the various domestic brands failed to meet the WHO standard of 100 colony forming units (cfu) per 100 ml at 22°C and 7% of these also tested positive for faecal coliforms. All imported bottled mineral water samples were within WHO standards. A risk assessment of the HPC bacteria was carried out in terms of beta haemolytic activity and antibiotic resistance. More than 50% of the isolates showed beta haemolytic activity and were multi-drug resistant. While the overall quality of the product was generally good, there is a need to enforce stringent quality standards for the domestic bottlers to ensure the safety of consumers.

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