The Berkey manufacturer has filed a lawsuit against the EPA seeking to stop it's unjustified persecution of Berkey Water Filters based on the EPA’s decision this year to treat Berkey Water Filters as though they are pesticides, rather than water filters. The EPA has already ordered the closure of Berkey's largest warehouse. Please see our blog post for the details.

The Berkey Red Food Coloring Test

If you really want to see the impressive purification power of the Black Berkey Water Filters then the food coloring test provides the perfect opportunity. Many companies selling water filters make claims about the high quality of their filters without making it verifiable by you, the customer. Berkey water filters go the extra mile by making it possible for customers to verify that the Black Berkey water filters do what they claim to do. The food coloring test is invaluable for new as well as established customers to ensure that their Berkey filters are working according to specifications.

For new customers: It demonstrates the amazing purification power of the Berkey water filters as well as affirming that the system has been properly assembled.

For existing customers: It's an invaluable way of ensuring that your Berkey water filters are still functioning properly. However long the original Berkey filters have been in operation, whether it be for the past 5 or 10 years, you can perform this test at anytime to see if it's time to replace the Berkey water filters. When doing this it's best to place a cup underneath each filter as this will help isolate which filter may be exhausted, and which is still purifying effectively.

With other water filters, the customer must assume their system is working to specifications or spend the time and money to perform water tests.

The food coloring test should be done after priming your Black Berkey filters and if you have PF-2 fluoride filters, before installing the PF-2 fluoride filters.

The Test

Please follow the instructions below.

This simple test verifies that your system has been assembled correctly, and that there are no internal leaks in your system. We recommend this test be done after the first assembly of this system, after removal or replacement of Black Berkey filters, or the first use after drying and storing the elements for an extended period of time. Ensure that you do not have Berkey PF-2 Fluoride filters installed in the system when performing this test.

1. Add up to 1/8 teaspoon (10 drops) of artificial red food coloring (must be red) for every 4 liters that your Berkey System can hold into the upper chamber. We recommend McCormick’s red food coloring or any artificial food coloring. Acceptable food color ingredients include water, propylene glycol, FD&C Red 40 (E129) and FD&C Red 3 (E127), and propylparaben.

  • Travel Berkey - 10 drops - 1/8 teaspoon
  • Big Berkey - 15 drops - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Berkey Light - 20 drops - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Royal Berkey - 25 drops - 1/3 teaspoon
  • Imperial Berkey - 35 drops - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Crown Berkey - 50 drops - 2/3 teaspoon

Do not use food coloring that is not red, or contains citric acid, sodium benzoate, thickening agents, sugars or natural ingredients such as beet juice, turmeric, etc. Using organic or natural food colorings that contain any of the above ingredients will result in a false failed test (stating that your system is not sealed correctly). Also do not use Tesco brand, Dr. Oetker Gel Food Color Bright Red or any other gel based food color.

2. Place a cup under the spigot and drain water. If dispensed water does not have a red or pink hue, this indicates that the elements are sealed and system has been assembled correctly. *Note: This test is meant to confirm that the system was assembled as intended.


If water drained from system has a red or pink hue during the assembly verification test, repeat the procedure again in this manner to determine the source of the leak:

1. Place the upper system chamber only (with Black Berkey filters installed) on top of same-sized cups or jars, each positioned so that an element can drip water into it. This will help you identify which blocking plug or element may be leaking.

2. Fill upper chamber with water and red food coloring as directed above.

3. Allow system to filter water. Check the color of water expelled from the elements. If water color is clear, your system is ready to use. If red dye is still present, reinstall the element(s) or blocking plug(s) where leaking occurs and re-run test.

4. If system continues to fail the test, contact our Customer Service Department for assistance.