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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
Indian colas 'not unsafe'
By Sanjeev Srivastava
BBC India correspondent

Coca Cola can
Coke and Pepsi control a large proportion of the Indian market

Representatives of the soft drinks manufacturers Coca-Cola and Pepsi have denied allegations that products they make and sell in India do not meet American and European standards.

Officials representing the companies were reacting to a report released by an Indian non-governmental organisation.

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had said samples of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products contained more than the prescribed limit of toxic pesticides and insecticides.

Indian executives of the two firms issued a rebuttal on Monday to the report released by the CSE.

The CSE, a non-profit NGO, works in the area of environment and health awareness.

Market control

Executives from the two cola multinationals said their firms were offering the Indian consumers products of the highest quality which were regularly tested in world-class laboratories.

They said their products sold in India were put through stringent quality monitoring tests.

But according to the CSE report, samples of 12 soft-drink brands sold in and around Delhi were tested for insecticides and pesticides.

The report said all the samples were found to contain residues of four toxic pesticides and insecticides.

The report also said the levels of pesticides exceeded the norms prescribed by the European Union and could cause, in the long-run, severe health problems.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi account for more than 90% of the carbonated drinks market in India and together sell more than 500 million bottles every year.

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