More than 10 barrels of fake water bearing the logos of top brands were delivered to schools in Haidian District on June 3.
University students are some of the largest consumers of barreled water, and water salesmen routinely bring their barrels onto campus to sell to dorm residents.
Prices for the fake bottles ranged from 10 to 18 yuan.
“It was definitely not safe water,” said a water vendor working at the university. “Brands like Wahaha are never sold for less than 22 yuan. You can’t make any profit when you sell it for 18 yuan or less.”
Beijing Wahaha Barreled Water Company confirmed that 22 yuan is its recommended price for barreled water.
An investigation by the Beijing News found that the water was supplied by illegal factories with the support of print shops, which helped to forge anti-counterfeit codes and labels.
“A label with fake anti-counterfeit code only costs 0.03 yuan,” a print shop operator who refused to be named told the Beijing News.
The barrels themselves were actually from the real water companies. On May 21, 78 empty barrels were investigated in Xiaohongmen, Chaoyang District, but none could be identified as fakes.
“Some water stations purchase the real brands’ barrels with a pledge of 30 yuan per barrel. Then they send these real-brand barrels to illegal water factories and refill them repeatedly,” said Ye Changqing, director of a water company’s anti-counterfeit office.
Real barrels sent to illegal factories are often stacked in unsanitary areas and filled with water that has not been properly disinfected.
“The food safety laws are still not implemented very well,” said Liu Xinwu, a lawyer. ¡°It’s hard to crack down on counterfeiters when the law only punishes those whose deception results in tragedy.”