INDIA: Study slams Coke, Pepsi for pesticide content

By Bhavna Rathore | 3 August 2006

Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo are in the eye of the storm once again in India after a study claimed that eleven soft drinks brands contained pesticides.

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

Sunita Narain, the head of the CSE, said: "Three years ago when the tests were conducted, we could spot only four pesticides. This time it has increased to five in some cases." Pesticides found in the samples include carcinogens like Lindane and neurotoxins like Chlorpyrifos, the CSE claimed.

In a joint statement through the Indian Soft Drink Manufacturers Association, Coke and Pepsi said: "Soft drinks manufactured in India comply with stringent international norms and all applicable national regulations. Over the past three years, the soft drinks industry has worked with the government, scientific community and NGOs to establish stringent science-based norms."

The CSE countered that the Indian government has not yet specified any standards for soft drinks and manufacturers were free to act on their own.

Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

Companies: Coke, Coca-Cola Co, PepsiCo

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