PepsiCo's CEO has admitted she made a mistake in not standing up against the pesticides-in-cola controversy.

Speaking yesterday (7 June), Indra Nooyi told reporters at BusinessWeek that she regretted her inaction in defending the company over a controversial report claiming there were high levels of pesticides in the soft drinks.

Nooyi said: "One thing I should have done was to appear in India three years ago and say: 'Cut it out. These products are the safest in the world, bar none, and your tests are wrong.'"

In December, India's health minister reportedly called for a ban on the sale of soft drinks in schools and universities amidst the controversy. The call came despite India's Health Ministry backing Coke and Pepsi in their legal battles against a number of Indian states that had banned the companies' products in the wake of the pesticide scare.

"Combine the public seeing the mercenary side of us, along with the fact that this was an American company," Nooyi also told the magazine.