Nestlé under criminal investigation after using activated carbon filters for Henniez water – rts.ch

Nestlé under criminal investigation after using activated carbon filters for Henniez water – rts.ch
Nestlé under criminal investigation after using activated carbon filters for Henniez water – rts.ch

Nestlé Waters was reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office by the cantonal chemist of Vaud for having used prohibited ultraviolet treatments and activated carbon filters on some of its mineral waters, including the Henniez brand. A rare case, according to a lawyer interviewed by RTS.

The scandal of banned treatments for Nestlé mineral waters arrived in Switzerland at the beginning of the year. Nestlé Waters also admitted to having used prohibited depollution processes for its Henniez brand. Furthermore, this case also raises the question of consumer deception, but no complaint has been filed in this regard.

During an inspection in June 2020, the Vaud cantonal chemist discovered that Henniez filters his water, a practice prohibited by law. But the filter is only removed at the end of 2022. The affair was revealed in January 2024.

>> Read: Nestlé also used banned treatments in Henniez mineral water

For two and a half years, consumers therefore purchased water which did not correspond to the label defined by law, without being informed, but which underwent the same process as what is done for tap water. In Switzerland, natural mineral water must not be treated or filtered.

An extremely rare fact

The cantonal Vaudois chemist therefore chose to denounce the Vaudois company to the public prosecutor. Such a situation is extremely rare in Switzerland, as Stéphane Grodecki, lecturer at the University of Geneva and lawyer, explains on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

>> Read: The silence of the Vaud cantonal chemist on the Henniez affair benefited Nestlé

“A denunciation, because we consider that the criminal aspect has occurred, is something very rare in the work of the cantonal chemist. The most likely now is that the Vaud Public Prosecutor’s Office will question Nestlé for explanations and to determine whether it must open an investigation, whether it must immediately close the procedure, or whether it must impose sanctions,” he explains.

From now on, Nestlé Waters faces a fine of up to 40,000 francs. If the sum seems insignificant for the agri-food giant, the risk is more in terms of image damage.

>> Read: Henniez scandal: Nestlé Waters had initially requested a “derogation” from the Confederation

Elisa Casciaro/jfe

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