EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

EU standards for natural mineral waters


Directive 2009/54/EC — exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters



It harmonises the conditions under which natural mineral waters may be sold in the EU and ensures these are safe for human consumption.


  • National authorities must ensure the water complies with the EU legislation before they award it natural mineral water status. Each EU country informs the European Commission when this recognition is granted or withdrawn.
  • Natural mineral water imported into the EU must be certified and satisfy the same criteria as domestic competitors.
  • Natural mineral water may not undergo any treatment apart, for instance, from the separation of unstable elements such as iron and sulphur compounds.
  • At source, and when on sale, natural mineral waters must be free from parasites, various coliforms (types of bacteria) and other ingredients dangerous to human health.
  • Containers for natural mineral waters must be properly sealed to avoid any possible contamination.
  • Natural mineral waters may be sold, where appropriate, according to the following definitions:
    • natural mineral water
    • carbonated* natural mineral water
    • naturally carbonated* natural mineral water
    • natural mineral water fortified with gas from the spring.
  • Labels must also give the following information:
    • details of the water’s analytical composition
    • the name and place of the spring used
    • information on any treatment the water has undergone.
  • It is illegal to use more than one trade description to market natural mineral water from the same spring.
  • It is illegal to claim that the water has characteristics it does not possess.
  • The term ‘spring water’ can only be used for water intended for human consumption in its natural state, bottled at source and meets the legislation's health and labelling conditions.
  • A national authority which considers that a natural mineral water could be a danger to human health may restrict or ban its sale. It informs other EU countries and the Commission.
  • The legislation does not apply to waters considered to be medicinal products or to natural mineral waters used as cures in thermal and hydrothermal spas.


It applies from 16 July 2009.


For more information, see ‘Natural Mineral Waters and Spring Water’ on the European Commission’s website.


* carbonated natural mineral water: water to which has been added carbon dioxide (CO2) of an origin other than the water table or deposit from which the water comes.

* naturally carbonated natural mineral water: water the CO2 content of which from the spring after decanting, if any, and bottling is the same as at source. This takes into account, where appropriate, the reintroduction of a quantity of CO2 from the same water table or deposit equivalent to that released in the course of those operations.


Directive 2009/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters (Recast) (OJ L 164, 26.6.2009, pp. 45-58)

last update 12.04.2016