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The Boston Globe reports that Spring Hill Dairy Farm, which has been identified as the source of tainted water that was sold under private labels at chains that included Whole Foods, CVS, Stop & Shop, Market Basket and Roche Brothers.

The story points out that “the water, which was found to have elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, known as PFAs, led the state Department of Public Health to issue a health advisory earlier this month that warned pregnant women, nursing mothers, and infants not to drink or cook with the water.” PFAs have been linked to a variety of diseases, including kidney cancer and low-infant birth weights.

Harold Rogers, one of the owners of the company, reportedly send a note to customers in which he blamed the media and the regulatory environment: “The continued adverse media focusing on you, our customers, as well as fluctuations in regulations and levels among different states and the federal government, and more to come in the future, is of concern to our very small business … For these reasons, we didn’t want to cause you any more uncertainty or undue attention and shall close our business.”
KC's View:
The original story pointed out that while state health departments in New England states posted advisories, urging people not to drink the water, they were not in any position to require the chains to do the same, or to require a recall. Spring Hill Farm said that it was able to still sell the water because the chemical levels fall within federal guidelines … but the whole thing struck me as way inadequate for dealing with the issue. I’m sure that some folks will lose their jobs because of this, and I feel bad about that, but Spring Hill had behaved in a way that lost trust. Local regulatory agencies didn’t exactly do themselves proud, either.

I still think there is a problem that when chemicals like PFAs are found in water, there needs to be a mechanism for everybody to be told - stores and customers - and the water gets taken off the market. Way too many regulatory loopholes here for my taste.