Zam Zam water warning
Thursday, 20 October 2005: The Food Standards Agency is advising consumers to be aware of the fraudulent sale of Zam Zam water that may contain high levels of arsenic. This issue was first brought to the Agency’s attention by Muslim leaders.
Zam Zam water, which is sacred to Muslims, comes from a specific source in Saudi Arabia and cannot legally be exported from the country for commercial sale.
A brand of Zam Zam formally sampled by the London Borough of Westminster has been found to contain almost three times the permitted level of arsenic, which could contribute to increasing people’s risk of cancer.
The local authority has taken action to prevent further sale of the product from the outlet.
In addition they have contacted the importer of the water to ensure that they stop importing the product. No other outlets are known to have stocked this product.
Other brands of Zam Zam water are thought to be on sale in the UK and could be similarly contaminated.
As genuine Zam Zam water cannot be legally exported from Saudi Arabia for commercial sale, any product found in the shops would have an uncertain provenance and pose a possible safety risk.
The FSA is therefore advising people not to buy or drink commercially available brands of Zam Zam water and to inform their Local Authority Environmental Health or Trading Standards Department if they come across Zam Zam water on sale.
Given that the demand for Zam Zam water is likely to increase during the month of Ramadan, the FSA has written to all Heads of Environmental Departments and Directors of Trading Standards asking local authorities to take appropriate enforcement action where the fraudulent sale of Zam Zam water is suspected.
THIS ADVICE DOES NOT RELATE TO THE GENUINE ZAM ZAM WATER BEING BROUGHT INTO UK BY RETURNING PILGRIMS, AS AN ACCOMPANIED OR UNACCOMPANIED ‘PERSONAL IMPORT’.