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'Raw' untreated drinking water gaining popularity, difficult to get

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At Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, customers looking for untreated, raw water straight from the spring are out of luck. (KGO-TV)

At Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, customers looking for untreated, raw water straight from the spring are out of luck.

"We're out of it. We've been out of it for a while," said Joey Cain, an employee at Rainbow Grocery.

The only thing in stock are the dispensers that sell for about 60 dollars. Rainbow has been carrying raw water for about six months, bottled and marketed by an Oregon based company, Live Water.

"The first time I drank fresh, living spring water, a surge of energy and peacefulness entered my being," says Live Water Founder Mukande Singh in a company video posted on YouTube.

It's not cheap. Live Water charges as much as 16 dollars per 2.5-gallon jug. The idea has caught on in Silicon Valley. Venture capitalists have been funding raw water startups, and Juicero founder Doug Evans has been posting about it on social media. But a leading food safety expert we talked with says it's just a matter of time before someone gets sick.

"It's sort of like drinking raw milk," said Bill Marler, a food safety advocate and attorney. "In California, that allows for raw milk consumption on a commercial level there've been numerous outbreaks of E. coli and Salmonella."

But the risks don't appear to be discouraging people who are committed to getting their water off the grid. Workers at Rainbow aren't surprised.

"Coconut water surprised me. So at this point I'm not really surprised by anything you know within the food, health, faddist community," said Cain.
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