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Health scare over fake Zam Zam water

August 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Leicestershire County Council has issued a warning to Muslims in the area regarding the dangers of drinking fake holy water. It warned that bottles of Zam Zam water should be avoided as it could be contaminated with high levels of arsenic.

Zam Zam water is a sacred water that comes from a well near Mecca in Saudi Arabia which has been flowing for millennia. Whilst pilgrims on the Hajj often take the water out of the country for personal use, they are not allowed to export it for commercial use.

Leicestershire County Council warned that the Zam Zam water on sale could have up to three times the legal limit of arsenic, as well as containing nitrates which can increase the risks of developing cancer, and should therefore be avoided at all costs.

Leicestershire County Council has warned that as well as being dangerous, the Zam Zam water might not even be real. If people see it in a shop they have been warned not to buy it as it is illegal and poses a safety risk.

The warning came two days before the start of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. This is also not the first time it has come to attention, with the FSA (Food Standards Agency) and Trading Standards issuing similar warnings in previous years.

For shops selling the water, the punishment could be severe. The penalty for selling unlicensed water is an unlimited fine or two years’ imprisonment, and traders also face a £20,000 fine or six months in prison if found to be selling water that is not safe for consumption.

David Bull, the head of trading standards at Leicestershire County Council, said that anyone with any knowledge of Zam Zam water being sold should contact Trading Standards.

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