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Govt likely to bring drinking water under `food' definition

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New Delhi , Aug. 27

THE turbulence over pesticide presence in water is far from receding, with the Government likely to come out with an ordinance to bring drinking water under the food category of the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act.

"Until now drinking water was not defined as food and hence there were no norms. The Government will come out with an ordinance to bring drinking water under food. We will then set up a group of experts who will work out the norms for groundwater and drinking water," Ms Sushma Swaraj, Union Health Minister, announced here on Wednesday at the 4th Editors Conference on Social Sector Issues.

Significantly, bottled drinking water has already been defined as `food' under the PFA, when the Health Ministry had issued a notification two years ago making it mandatory for all packaged drinking water to sport the ISI mark from March 2001.

The effort to lay down norms for drinking water and groundwater comes as an aftermath to the controversy of pesticide residue in soft drinks, when both the Cola majors pointed out that soft drinks contained pesticides since its raw material, groundwater contained pesticides, point out Health Ministry officials. The Government would make public the report on the Cola controversy on Thursday, she added.

Responding to the confusion created by the Government's report on whether or not soft drinks contained pesticide residues, she said: "Pesticides were found in all 12 brands of soft drinks, though three of them contained less than the norms stipulated by the European Union. It is not a Government report. It was the report given by two labs - Central Food and Technology Research Institute (CFTRI) and Central Food Laboratory (CFL) — belonging to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, (CSIR), which comes under the Department of Science and Technology. CFTRI is the only accredited lab in the country that has international recognition."

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Govt likely to bring drinking water under `food' definition

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