INDIA: Consumers less fearful amid pesticide claims - report

By | 11 August 2006

Indian sales of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products are down since claims over their pesticide content but consumers have reacted less drastically than during a previous scare, local reports said today (11 August).

"Sales are down about 10%," an unnamed source told Reuters. "However, this time consumers have reacted a lot more maturely than when the controversy first broke in 2003."

Last week, a report from India's Centre of Science and Environment (CSE) has found that tests on 57 samples of Coke and Pepsi brands found 24 times more pesticide than permitted.

A similar report by the CSE in 2003 briefly hit sales of soft drinks in India, and resulted in a temporary ban on soft drinks in schools and government offices.

Seven states have enacted complete or partial bans on sales of soft drinks, while Coke and Pepsi have staunchly defended the quality and safety of the products.

Local business have reportedly warned that foreign investment into India could slow due to the bans.

According to an Associated Press report yesterday (10 August), the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry - representing around 90% of Indian businesses - said the bans could hurt the wider economy.

Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

Companies: PepsiCo, Coke

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