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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Pepsi and Coke under fire again
By Shilpa Kannan
BBC News, Delhi

Activists of the Indian Democratic Party protest in Delhi
The earlier report sparked protests in India
An Indian non-governmental organisation says samples of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products are showing even worse levels of pesticides than in a previous study.

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said their investigations revealed that the drinks contain harmful residues, posing a health risk.

A CSE report in 2003 resulted in Pepsi and Coca-Cola strenuously rejecting claims that their drinks were unsafe.

Soft drinks manufacturers have condemned the latest findings.

"Soft drinks are completely safe," the Indian Soft Drink Manufacturers Association (ISDMA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The soft drinks manufactured in India comply with stringent international norms and all applicable national regulations."

Public outcry

CSE Director Sunita Narain told journalists in Delhi that samples from 12 states showed that Pepsi products contained 30 times more pesticides than found in 2003.

Sunita Narain
This is a grave public health scandal
CSE Director Sunita Narain

Likewise she said that Coke samples had 25 times the amount of pesticides found three years ago.

She alleged that despite the public outcry over the issue following the first report, the government has failed to set up the necessary quality-control standards for the soft drinks industry.

India does not have any purity standards for soft drinks.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) - the highest government body to maintain product quality certification - has set a pesticide standard for bottled-water only.

The CSE study used that recommendation in their tests.

In 2003, an Indian parliamentary committee upheld the CSE findings on the presence of pesticide residues and recommended that standards were set for soft drinks too.

The Indian Food Processing Industries minister, Subodh Kant Sahay said the government would look into the matter when it receives an official complaint.





SEE ALSO
India finds pesticides in colas
04 Feb 04 |  South Asia
Court orders Pepsi tests
11 Aug 03 |  South Asia
No more cola for Indian MPs
06 Aug 03 |  South Asia
Indian colas 'not unsafe'
05 Aug 03 |  South Asia

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