(1) Background: Somaliland, the breakaway republic of Northern Somalia, has a growing, commercial bottled water industry, but no available data on end-user water quality. The objective of this study was to do a public health quality assessment of popular brands of bottled water available in Somaliland. (2) Method: Between June and December 2010, 36 bottles with water from eight brands were purposefully sampled from shops in all four parts of Hargeisa city and analysed for 22 physico-chemical, five microbiological and nine informational variables. The findings were compared with international guidelines and the composition tables of the respective brands. (3) Results: The production and expiry dates on 50% of the bottles were inadequately presented. All of the physico-chemical measurements were within healthy limits; however, average pH was 5.6. Discrepancies between the physico-chemical analysis results and the composition table values provided on the bottles were large and significant (p = .018): Individual mineral concentrations could be as low as 1% of labelled values. Undesirable growth of total coliforms where found in 50% of all samples. (4) Conclusions: This study indicates a need for improved cleanliness in the production and distribution system, consistent production date labelling and regular physico-chemical analysis leading to accurate composition tables. There is a need for external monitoring of the quality of water delivered from the bottled water companies in Somaliland in order to prevent adverse public health effects.
Author and article information
] Department of Community Medicine and Global Health, Institute of Health and Society,
Medical faculty, University of Oslo.
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Data availability: The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.