Organic Consumers Association

India Press Report Coke & Pepsi Are Loaded with Pesticide Residues

Poison in your soft drink, says study
By: Sutirtho Patranobis
New Delhi, August 5
Hindustan Times (India)

Twelve popular soft-drink brands have been found to contain dangerously high levels of pesticides and insecticides.

Delhi-based NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) tested brands of market leaders Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. It found that Coke contained 30 times and Pepsi 36 times the amount of pesticides considered acceptable by the European Economic Commission (EEC).

The NGO also tested one bottle each of Coke and Pepsi bought in the US. They were both free of pesticide residue.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have threatened legal action against the NGO.

At a press conference on Tuesday, their officials said the allegations should be disregarded. They said the CSE did not have the expertise to conduct such sophisticated tests.

³Our products are tested at Œgold standard¹ laboratories in Hyderabad and the Netherlands. The Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Department tests samples every 10 to 12 days. Our products meet norms set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).² Laboratories get the gold standard rating after seven stringent tests.

CSE director Sunita Narain, however, said at a press conference: ³EEC-recommended procedures were used to test for 16 pesticides.² She said India had no laws to regulate the quality of water used to make soft drinks..

There is a grey area with regard to Indian standards. The BIS does not have any standards for soft-drink contamination. It only has a set of guidelines for the water used to manufacture the beverages, but following them is not mandatory.

The PFA department has a set of standards, which a BIS official said was far below international standards.

The CSE, which some time ago declared that some brands of bottled water sold in the country were unfit for drinking, tested three samples each of some of the soft-drink brands sold in the city.

It found that Mirinda Lemon was the most contaminated with 70 times the pesticide levels permitted by the EEC, Coke had 45 times the amount and Fanta, Mirinda Orange and Pepsi had 43, 39 and 37 times respectively.

Long exposure to the chemical compounds in the pesticides can cause cancer, a decrease in sperm count, damage to the central nervous system, birth defects and stomach-related disorders.

Fizz falls flat

Culprits: Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Mirinda Orange, Mirinda Lemon, Blue Pepsi, 7-Up, Coke, Fanta, Limca, Sprite, Thums Up

Contaminants: Residues of 4 contaminants ­ lindane, DDT, malathion, chlorpyrifos

Dangers: Can cause cancer, reduce bone mineral density

Grey area: BIS does not have mandatory standards. Prevention of Food Adulteration dept does, but they are below international standards

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