NEW DELHI, India, August 5, 2003 (ENS): Toxic pesticides in
concentrations far higher than permitted by the European
Economic Commission have been found in 12 cold drink
brands sold in and around New Delhi. The results, released
today, are based on tests conducted by the Pollution
Monitoring Laboratory of the Centre for Science and
Environment, a prominent environmental organization
based in New Delhi.
The environmental group said, "12 major cold drink
brands sold in and around Delhi contain a deadly cocktail
of pesticide residues." Mirinda lemon was named
as the drink with the highest levels of pesticides.
The charges that market leaders Coca-Cola and Pepsi
contained pesticide residues up to 36 times higher than
permitted, brought the heads of Coca-Cola India and
Pepsi India out on the same platform today for the first
time to jointly deny that their drinks contain harmful
Sanjeev Gupta, president of Coca-Cola India said his
company's products have been repeatedly tested for safety
"in top grade laboratories in India and abroad."
PepsiCo Holdings India chairman Rajeev Bakshi called
the report "baseless," and said it should
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said its lab
tests showed that all samples, including those of Coke
and Pepsi contained residues of four toxic pesticides
and insecticides - lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos.
The Pollution Monitoring Laboratory found no pesticide
residues in bottles of the two soft drink brands sold
in the United States.
A total of 36 soft drinks samples of 12 brands were
tested for 16 organochlorine pesticides, 12 organophosphorus
and four pyrethroides pesticides most commonly used
CSE says the lab tested these samples with a widely
and internationally used methodology based on U.S. Environment
Protection Agency methodology for organochlorine pesticide
and organophosphorus pesticide detection.
The environmental organization blamed the high levels
of pesticide residues on the chemical contamination
of ground water used as the basic raw material in the
soft drink industry.
"Total pesticides in all PepsiCo brands on an
average were 0.0180 milligrammes per litre (mg/l), 36
times higher than the EEC limit for total pesticides
(0.0005 mg/l)," CSE said the lab results showed.
"Total pesticides in all Coca-Cola brands on an
average were 0.0150 mg/l, 30 times higher than the EEC
In its report, CSE criticizes the "non-existent"
regulations that India has imposed on the "powerful
and massive soft drinks industry."
The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act of 1954, or
the Fruit Products Order of 1955 - both mandatory acts
aimed at regulating the quality of contents in beverages
such as cold drinks - do not provide any scope for regulating
pesticides in soft drinks, the CSE said.
The Fruit Products Order, under which the soft drinks
industry gets its license to operate, has standards
for lead and arsenic that are 50 times higher than those
allowed for the bottled water industry, said the CSE
The sector is also exempted from the provisions of
industrial licensing under the Industries (Development
and Regulation) Act of 1951.
Soft drinks manufacturers get a one time license to
operate from the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
The CSE states that this license includes a no-objection
certificate from the local government as well as the
state pollution control board, and a water analysis
report. "There are no environmental impact assessments,
or siting regulations. The industry's use of water,
therefore, is not regulated," CSE said.
"The norms that exist to regulate the quality
of cold drinks are a maze of meaningless definitions.
This food sector is virtually unregulated," said
the environmental organization.
On behalf of Coca-Cola, Gupta called for the appointment
of an independent panel of inquiry to probe the allegations.
He said "trial by media" of this issue is
The CSE soft drinks report can be read in full at:
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2003. All Rights