New standards introduced by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will stipulate that bottled water is tested for 32 types of pesticides, with the quantity of all pesticide and pesticide residue not exceed 0.1 micro-milligrams per litre and 0.5 microns per litre, respectively.

In addition, the BIS is now to use the capillary column system for testing water as opposed to the packed column test previously used.

But according to manufacturers, the new directive is similar to existing regulations. "Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) norms, as of today, are consistent with World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, so I don't see much difference in the the new directive that the ministry has announced," said Ramesh Chauhan, chairman of Parle Bisleri Ltd.

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola India said: "We wish to emphasise that the quality of our Kinley water conforms to the highest international standards and meets the quality standards for potable drinking water set by WHO. Kinley water meets and far excels the quality standards set by BIS for the bottled drinking water industry."

The issue of pesticide contamination in bottled water has arisen following tests conducted on mineral and bottled water by the Centre for Science and Environment which found pesticide residue levels 104 times higher than the internationally accepted norms. In addition, residues were found in bottled water of extremely harmful pesticides such as DDT, chloropirifor, lindane and malathion. Previous BIS had not revealed any such pesticides.