The founder of bottled-water maker Real Water has publicly apologized after five kids who drank its product came down with liver failure.
Real Water president Brent Jones issued the mea culpa amid a Food and Drug Administration probe of the alkaline water, which has been linked to several cases of hepatitis.
“We’d like to expressed our deepest sympathy and concern over the events that have led to the inquiry,” Jones said in a roughly two-minute video message released Tuesday.
“I want to personally apologize to all of our customers, and I assure you the lessons learned from this will drive further improvement in the brand,” he added.
The video came four days after the FDA urged consumers and businesses not to drink, sell or serve Real Water, which has as higher pH level that the Arizona-based company claims can improve hydration.
The feds say five infants and children in southern Nevada who consumed the brand’s water came down with non-viral hepatitis that resulted in acute liver failure and put them in the hospital.
While those patients have recovered, five other people from two of their households also suffered symptoms such as fever, vomiting and nausea, according to the FDA.
The incidents appear to be linked to to Real Water’s Las Vegas home and office delivery service, according to Jones. The company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall “until the safety of our product is clearly established,” he said.
The FDA is still investigating the cases, but officials say they have epidemiologic information indicating Real Water’s product caused the illnesses.
“The consumption of ‘Real Water’ brand alkaline water is the only common link identified among all of these cases to date,” the FDA said last week.
Real Water is also facing a federal class-action lawsuit led by three California women — two of whom got nauseous after drinking the stuff while one spotted blood in her urine, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Real Water’s product label says its only two ingredients are purified water and potassium bicarbonate, an alkaline mineral.
While boosters of alkaline water claim it can neutralize acid in the bloodstream and help prevent conditions such as cancer and heart disease, those claims are largely not supported by credible evidence, according to the Mayo Clinic.