ABWI Certification Process
In order to display the ABWI logo on materials, members must be granted “Certified Bottler” status. It is the primary responsibility of every prospective member to familiarize themselves with ABWI’s Model Code, which is a strict set of standards for the safe processing of bottled water. Once application is accepted, achieving compliance of this Code within the first 12 months of membership is mandatory. If a bottler does not wish to comply with the Model Code, then that bottler ceases to be a member.
As a condition of membership, all ABWI bottler members participate in a self-regulatory scheme of plant inspections. The plant inspection program assists members to reach the highest levels of quality and provide a benchmark for the rest of the industry. As part of the program, all bottler members are subject to an annual plant audit administered by an independent and internationally recognized third-party organization. This inspection assures that all ABWI bottler members meet both FSANZ and ABWI requirements for the production and sale of bottled water. The ABWI Executive Committee, on the recommendation of the Technical and Regulatory Committee, approves appropriately qualified third-party auditors to then conduct audits based on the ABWI Model Code. Each third-party auditor meets the Technical Committee’s requirements for an audit check-list and scoring method.
The Australasian Bottled Water Institute has certified Correct Food Systems, Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, BSI and QUASI as independent and internationally recognized third-party auditors for approved Bottled Water plants. The purpose of the audits is to ensure that ABWI bottler members’ quality standards are in compliance with the requirements of the Model Code. After analysing their source and testing their finished product, ABWI bottler members submit the full records of their bottled water test results to the appointed Correct Food Systems, Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, BSI or QUASI auditor.
Although rare, if a bottler does fail the inspection, the bottler must take corrective action to rectify the problem. ABWI fully documents and verifies these measures, and any deficiencies discovered during an annual inspection must be corrected within 30 days. In addition, a second inspection may be performed at the bottler’s expense. Just because a bottler failed ABWI’s unannounced inspections does not necessarily mean that they failed to meet FSANZ Regulations. In some instances, ABWI’s Model Code standards are more stringent than the FSANZ regulations currently in place for bottled water.
After successfully completing their audits and signing a contract with ABWI, bottlers are then granted Certification status and entitled to the use of the ABWI “Certified Bottler” Logo on their labels, coolers, stationary, and ant other materials.