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In the United States and Canada, distilled water packaging is almost identical to that of drinking water with just minor differences. In other countries such as Israel and Germany, distilled water is sold with very different packaging and usually in the pharmacy or automotive section of stores rather than next to drinking water.

Is there a legal reason why US manufacturers choose to package distilled water and lay out stores this way? It just feels so odd like selling rubbing alcohol and vodka in identical packages and on the same aisle, which I assume is illegal and clearly ill-advised.

Is difference in law between the US and e.g. Germany is what causing this difference in outcome?

Also, I'm sorry if law StackExchange is not the best place to ask this. Please point me at somewhere better.

  • What is the legal question here? – Dale M Jun 23 at 6:13
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    Is difference in law between the US and e.g. Germany is what causing this difference in outcome? – epsalon Jun 23 at 6:17
  • Put that in the question - right now it reads as why is this marketed differently – Dale M Jun 23 at 6:24
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    I think you are implying that distilled water is potentially harmful and hence there should be some sort of regulation to prevent this harm. It's not harmful and hence there are no regulations and product placement is purely a marketing/business decision. – Hilmar Jun 23 at 11:47
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    @PaulJohnson - no, distilled and deionized water are two different things, and both may be available at your local supermarket. – Jon Custer Jun 24 at 18:52
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Why is distilled water packaged and sold similar to drinking water in the US but not in other countries?

That it factually false. I buy this distilled water in New Zealand from supermarket shelves on regular basis.

Is there a legal reason why US manufacturers choose to package distilled water and lay out stores this way? It just feels so odd like selling rubbing alcohol and vodka in identical packages and on the same aisle, which I assume is illegal and clearly ill-advised.

Because distilled water (unless made using non-food grade equipment specifically for tech-only applications e.g. automotive batteries) is a drinkable product that is no less (and, in some sense, much more) qualified to stand on supermarket shelves next to juices. It is just water without anything else in it.

In other countries such as Israel and Germany, distilled water is sold with very different packaging and usually in the pharmacy or automotive section of stores rather than next to drinking water.

Distilled water that is sold for automotive purposes is produced using non-food grade equipment. It is free of minerals but is not guaranteed to be free of other contaminants which may affect its taste or suitability for drinking. This does not mean that distilled water in general is not suitable for drinking — it all depends on whether it was produced for drinking in the first place.

Watch closely drinking water on supermarket shelves in Israel and Germany and you may actually find distilled water (made for drinking) there too.

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