INDIA: Punjab sides with Coke and Pepsi - report

By | 13 September 2006

Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo have finally got an ally among the Indian authorities, according to local reports.

The Government of the state of Punjab has come out in favour of the much-maligned drinks companies, stating that they believe the companies' product are safe for human consumption.

India's Financial Express said yesterday (12 September) that the State Health and Welfare Minister, Surinder Singla, even suggested that the Centre for Science and Environment "perhaps had some vested interests" in claiming to find harmful levels of pesticide in Coke and Pepsi's drinks.

Singla is cited in the report claiming that the CSE report was "grossly exaggerated and wrong". "The Punjab government rightly rejects the report of CSE and finds colas safe for health," he said.

According to two independent laboratory tests, Singla said, it was possible to "arrive at the truth about the presence of pesticides in cola drinks". The two tests found that the pesticide presence in Coke was 0.62% and 0.65% in Pepsi, markedly lower than the 12% claimed by the CSE.

The companies have seen a number of Indian states ban their products after a report from the CSE in July claimed 57 samples of Coke and Pepsi brands had been found to contain 24 times more pesticide than permitted.

Most states only banned the sale of the drinks in government-run offices, schools and colleges but one, the state of Kerala, enacted a state-wide ban.

India's federal government has voiced its criticism of the report but the states have refused to lift the bans, saying Pepsi and Coke products are unsafe, an accusation both firms deny.

Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

Companies: Coke, Coca-Cola Co, PepsiCo

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