Almost a quarter of purified drinking water tested by China's top safety watchdog was substandard, with many products found to contain excessive levels of bacteria, the official Shanghai Daily newspaper said on Monday.
The findings underline the challenge to controlling supply chains in China, after a slew of food safety scares over the past year from donkey meat products contaminated with fox to heavy metals found in infant food.
The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) found excessive bacteria in purified water products from China's biggest drinks maker, Wahaha Group, as well as C'estbon Beverage Co Ltd and Danone SA's Robust brand, the newspaper said.
In a statement posted on the official Xinhua news agency, Wahaha said it had recalled the affected products and cut its supply relationship with the water station where it said the contamination had occurred.
C'estbon and Robust were not immediately available for comment.
Consumers in China either boil water for drinking or rely on bottled or barreled water due to high levels of pollution in waterways.
The CFDA checked 2,088 batches of purified drinking water and found that 23 per cent were substandard, the Shanghai Daily said. Most failed the tests for excessive levels of bacteria.
Food health scares are common in China, ranging from toxic tofu to a deadly scandal in 2008 where dairy milk contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine killed six infants and made many thousands sick.