The Ein Gedi bottled mineral water company has informed the Health Ministry that it suspects the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria in some of its products.

The two-liter bottles sold in six packs were listed with the production dates of August 1, 2 and 3, 2012, and the expiration dates August 1, 2 and 3, 2013.

The company said such bottles should be returned unused to the store where purchased.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common bacterium that can cause disease in animals and humans. It is found in soil and water and on the skin, as well as in most man-made environments in the world. It thrives in normal atmospheres as well as those with low levels of oxygen, and has thus colonized many natural and artificial environments.

Ten percent of all hospital-acquired infections are due to the bacteria.

The suspected levels of bacteria present no health danger to anyone with a healthy immune system, the ministry said, but in people with weak immune systems due to chronic diseases, “it could theoretically cause illness that is not life-threatening.”

Whoever drank from such bottles does not need to visit a doctor unless he suffers from symptoms such as fever or gastrointestinal illness.

The Ein Gedi company may be contacted for queries at 1 - 8 0 0 - 7 0 1 - 701.

Despite ministry reassurances, a class action lawsuit was filed at the Haifa District Court on Wednesday against the company, demanding NIS 18,000 for anyone who bought Ein Gedi bottled water between August 1 and 3. The suit was filed by attorney Eitan Peleg, who specializes in such cases, on behalf of a 72-year-old woman who drinks the mineral water on a regular basis.

The woman said she believed the company’s claims that its products were “beneficial for health” and were bottled without human contact and with strict quality control.

After hearing that the bottles allegedly contained bacteria, she said she felt a “feeling of disgust.” Her lawyer said the company did not inform the public immediately about its “suspicions,” but they became known only through the news media.

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