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  • Writer's pictureMiguel Fernández

Gluten-Free Water (of the series deceives me that I like)

Who ever read the label on a bottle of water? Did not read? Well, read it, if you don't cry, you'll laugh I bought a bottle of “sparkling mineral water”. I found it tastier than others. I went to see where the water came from and it was impossible to read the tiny letters on the label. Armed with a magnifying glass, I concluded that the water was from Raposo (RJ), with some tradition on the subject of "mineral waters" (my parents used to go there to enjoy these waters). As one topic leads to another, I asked myself “mineral waters"? Why? If I remember correctly from chemistry classes, water is a mineral, therefore all waters are minerals. What is “non-mineral” water? It seems that someone created a law classifying “mineral waters”, although forgetting to explain what “non-mineral” waters are!

Certainly to comply with any law or ordinance, the label of the bottle also informs that the “classification” is “FLUORIDATED MINERAL WATER AND HYPOTHERMAL AT THE SOURCE”, followed by the physical and chemical characteristics: pH at 25°C: 5.83, water temperature in the source: 25.1°C (not hypothermal?), electrical conductivity at 25°C: 54.4 μS/cm, evaporation residue at 180°C “calculated” 51.86 mg/l, bicarbonate 21.62mg /l; sulfate 4.75; calcium 3.426; sodium 3.344; magnesium 2.095; chloride 1.78; nitrate 1.44; potassium 1,223; fluoride 0.06; barium 0.030; strontium 0.025; bromide 0.01, phew! It also says that it is “artificially carbonated” and that the shelf life of the product is “probably” 12 months if stored in a clean, dry, airy, odor-free place and away from the sun (and I thought that the packaging was impenetrable and to protect from all this ). But what most shocked and impressed me was discovering a warning, in rather large letters next to the other information, saying: “DOES NOT CONTAIN GLUTEN”. I am still very worried and appalled by this information because the warning certainly suggests that there is “water with gluten” and I don't know what to do. Will it be distributed by CEDAE and SABESP? Can I drink the “spout water”, as they used to say?

I even think they should also clarify if it contains (or not) and how much carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and common sense it contains. The labels do not indicate registration with the crea nor the permits from the source and the bottler. Can I drink safely? (Here's a tip for crea and city halls) Believers forgive me about “gluten”, but so-called “healthy” diets are fads that already existed at the time of the Old Testament (when charlatans are mentioned), that is, an ancient thing that is based on the propensity of human beings to need believe in something, if not in pursuit of eternal life, then in something similar. But for those who think that placing a notice “check if the elevator is stopped on this floor” is important, it makes sense. After all, if the person is distracted enough to enter the huge black hole, he should pay attention to reading the warning because the distraction effort seems smaller... Or else he will drink non-mineral water and / or with gluten and he will die too.

Miguel Fernández, consulting engineer, chronicler and columnist Rio de Janeiro, published in ABES Bio Magazine n°92 Jul/Sep 2019, p.19.

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