97% of all bottled water sold in Europe is either natural mineral water or spring water. Each brand of natural mineral and spring water has its own distinctive taste, a unique set of properties and specific mineral composition which is derived from the geological conditions present in the area where the water is abstracted. This subsequently determines its natural flavour or taste.
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Spring water, like natural mineral water, comes from a named and recognised underground source. It must be microbiologically safe and wholesome to drink and where it must be bottled directly at source without disinfection or any chemical treatment.
The main differences between spring water and natural mineral water are that a stable mineral balance is not a requirement for spring waters (though this is often the case) and mineral composition need not be stated on the label (though many producers nevertheless choose to do so). Also, for chemical parameters, spring water must only meet conventional drinking water standards (as for tap water).
There is no formal recognition process for spring waters (as there is for natural mineral water) but quality monitoring and protection of the source must be maintained.