Hi MA:

Why does my bottle of Aquafina have an expiration date on it? What would go bad, the H or the two Os?

-- Mort Schwartz, San Diego

I think your Hs and Os will do okay for, say, eternity. But your Fs and Ds and As need tending to. Water, now that it’s been transformed from basic natural resource to trendy, hyped consumer product, must obey more than just the laws of nature. It must also obey the laws of the feds. As a consumable-- a packaged food product-- it must have an expiration date, just like Snickers bars and rye bread. One local bottler said they mark their product with a two-year shelf life, but just to keep the feds from arresting them. They do warn if water isn’t stored out of sunlight, it can culture natural organisms, but that doesn’t have anything to do with “expiration.” Expiration of the water, anyway.

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