Of Toxic Pesticides In
12 Soft Drink Brands
NEW DELHI AUG. 5.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) today announced that 12
soft drink brands collected for testing from in and around Delhi contained
residues of four extremely toxic pesticides and insecticides
lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos. The multinational companies
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo immediately challenged the report and indicated
that they might consider legal action.
Presenting the findings
at a press conference here today, the Director, CSE, Sunita Narain,
said that in all the samples, the levels of pesticide residues far exceeded
the maximum residue limit for pesticides in water used as "food''
as set down by the European Economic Commission (EEC).
She said that each
sample had enough poison to cause long-term cancer, damage to the nervous
and reproductive systems, birth defects and severe disruption of the
The tested soft
drinks include Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi, Mirinda Orange,
Mirinda Lemon, Blue Pepsi, 7Up, Fanta, Limca, Sprite and Thums Up.
Ms. Narain said
that according to the findings, Coca-Cola and Pepsi had almost similar
concentration of pesticide residues. While contaminants in Pepsi were
37 times higher than the EEC limit, Coca-Cola overstepped the norm having
45 times the prescribed limit of pesticide contamination.
Faring the worst
in the "health test'', according to her, was Mirinda Lemon followed
by Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Fanta, Mirinda Orange, 7Up, Mountain Dew, Limca,
Thums Up and Sprite. It was also found that pesticides in soft drinks
were similar to bottled water, which the CSE had tested earlier this
Releasing the report,
Ms. Narain said: "The inference drawn from the tests is that groundwater
used for making soft drinks is infested with pesticides. Another interesting
find was the fact that the same brands found and tested abroad did not
contain these pesticides.''
``Why these companies
are never booked in India is simply because one cannot take them to
court since the norms that regulate manufacture of cold (soft) drinks
here are not well defined. The `food' sector is virtually unregulated,''
Reacting to the
CSE report, both the multinational companies Coca-Cola and Pepsi
described it as "unreliable'' and indicated that they might
resort to legal action.
The chairman of
PepsiCo, Rajiv Bakshi, said, "Our company is well within the limits
of the pesticide residue norms set by the European Union for water used
in products within public domain. We conform to all norms and are open
to all testing by an internationally-accredited independent laboratory
and by experienced people.''
The chief executive
officer of Coke, Sanjiv Gupta, said, "Our product is world class
and is the same we sell in Europe and the U.S. These are tested by top
grade labs like Vimta in Hyderabad and TNO in the Netherlands.'' Claiming
that this was a "bigger'' controversy than the previous drinking
water report, Mr. Gupta said his company had not moved the court previously
because it thought "the controversy did not directly threaten the
reputation of the company''.