Popular bottled water brand “Real Water” has been linked to liver damage in five children who have been recently hospitalized. The Las Vegas-based brand, which is sold throughout the American Southwest, has not been officially recalled. However, the company’s president, Brent Jones, called for stores to stop selling the bottled water pending an investigation.
The brand’s website, at the time of this writing, has no mention of a recall and still links to shopping pages to buy the bottled water from. “Real Water is asking that all retailers pull the product from the shelf, effective immediately, and hold it in the back rooms or return it to the distributors,” president Brent Jones said in a recent statement. “Any customer who has purchased Real Water from a retailer is asked to return the product.”
It is bizarre for a company official to call for an item to stop being sold and to be returned to stores without the company declaring an official recall. It is unclear if the brand itself is resisting Mr. Jones insistence that the item be recalled or if this is simply a matter of timing, with the president reacting more quickly to the news than the company itself.
The unofficial recall follows right after five children were hospitalized with liver illness. It is unclear what, exactly, caused the illness, but the children had all recently had “Real Water” brand water. “To date, the consumption of ‘Real Water’ brand alkaline water was found to be the only common link identified between all the cases,” said authorities in the region.
The bottled water in question is sold in box-shaped, blue bottles and is marketed as “infused with negative ions” and “alkalized.” Positioned as a premium, high-end health water, the brand is sold in stores like Sprouts, Costco, and Whole Foods. A lawsuit was lodged against the brand Tuesday for its alleged role in the liver illness of one child.
The company has not yet publicly addressed the lawsuit, which names “Real Water” as the defendant and alleges that impurities in the beverage caused the illness in the child.
People who have purchased the water are urged to return it or otherwise throw it out. Stores are being told to stop selling the water altogether until the source of the illnesses can be determined. At the time of this writing, it is unclear what, exactly, is causing the illness, and if, indeed, it is because of “Real Water.”