Generic Water or Branded Water?
August 31, 2011 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Are no-name stainless steel water bottles just as safe as the big brand ones?

We received a stainless steel water bottle for our son that was purchased at Cost Plus/World Market. There is no brand marking on it, just a World Market tag and a "made in China" stamp at the bottom of the tag.

Do you think I should feel just as confident giving my son his water in this every day as I would giving him a camelbak or kleen kanteen or other cleverly-named one?

thank you!
posted by aimeedee to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Where do you think most of the cleverly named water bottles are manufactured?
posted by COD at 6:14 PM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Stainless steel is stainless steel, no?
posted by dunkadunc at 6:42 PM on August 31, 2011

Gee Thanks Codswallop.

I guess we need to be teaching ourselves to make these now?
posted by roboton666 at 7:58 PM on August 31, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration works closely with Customs and Border Protection to monitor imports of not just food and drugs, but also cosmetics, medical devices, and anything that will come into contact with food. They take their work very seriously, they are very good at what they do, and they have sophisticated procedures in place to try to ensure that nothing gets past them. All shipments of those items must be explicitly approved by FDA prior to import. Part of their procedures is a flagging system for all import tariff numbers of items that fall or might fall under their jurisdiction. For many items importers are required to report detailed information about ingredients, material breakdowns, manufacturers, and for some items even third parties that have handled the items along the way. Stainless steel bottles are typically classified 7323.93.0080. This tarifff number has been specifically flagged "FD0" which means that "FDA has determined the article, even though subject to FDA's laws and regulations, is acceptable for CBP release without further presentation of entry information to FDA." (source)

So while I would also recommend buying American as a matter of principle, I don't think there is any reason to believe that a stainless steel water bottle made in China and imported by CamelBak or Kleen Kanteen would be any safer than one imported from China by Cost Plus World Market. As COD implied, there's a pretty good chance they're all made in China. All three companies are big enough importers that I'd bet they have procedures in place to ensure that their products have been tested safe. They don't need to cut corners and they certainly don't need the hassle and potential liability of risking importing items that are unsafe.
posted by Balonious Assault at 8:39 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yuck. This thread makes me wish I could send him to school with a glass jar. I know there are no stainless steel bottles made in America, so in theory I don't care that it's made in China, but I also suspect that thanks to deregulation laws, there are not enough FDA agents to inspect everything thoroughly enough.

Thanks for the input. I guess I'll end up using the bottle, since they don't allow glass at school and it sounds like camelbak et al have no extra protections or special liners or anything. Maybe I'll do a bit more research and if I find out anything new, I'll check back in.
posted by aimeedee at 9:20 PM on August 31, 2011

Sorry if my answer was misleading... the short version is that FDA doesn't review or inspect imported shipments of stainless steel bottles at all. They consider them safe.

As for the idea that there aren't enough FDA agents to inspect everything throrughly enough, they really are very good at monitoring imports. Everything they are interested in is vetted one way or another. If there is any question about an item, a manufacturer, or a shipper it's almost a certainty that the shipment documents, if not the items themselves, will be looked at by an actual FDA agent before the shipment is released.

For what it's worth, FDA is interested in imported glass jars and bottles. Those are subject to review and inspection.
posted by Balonious Assault at 10:03 PM on August 31, 2011

Also, note that codswallop's article is from the 2009 Idaho Observer, and it's hosted by, "Internet Services with an Ethical Bias." I'm thinking that bias may be against Chinese imports, for one.

This is not something I would worry about.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:14 AM on September 1, 2011

I would at least check to see if it has a plastic liner (ie possible BPA).
posted by wongcorgi at 9:20 AM on September 1, 2011

I may just be naive but why would one worry about a stainless steel bottle at all, regardless of its source or brand, if it had been washed at least once?

I'm aware of the whole BPA controversy with plastic bottles and I thought that was why we all had to go out and buy these new metal bottles in the first place. Please don't tell me we have new worries to attend to?

and to give my opinion on the OP's question, if it wasn't already evident, I'd drink from it myself and I'd give it to my theoretical child if I had one.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:11 AM on September 2, 2011

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