Pepsi open to working with CSE also

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Aug. 12

Coca-Cola on Saturday released the sample test results on pesticide residues in its aerated drinks, claiming lower levels of individual pesticide residue in its soft drinks than the prescribed Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) levels of 0.1 ppb. The results were from samples tested at the London-based Central Science Laboratories (CSL).

"Samples of Coca-Cola, Thumbs-Up , Sprite, Fanta and Limca have been tested by the highly respected independent laboratory in the United Kingdom.

"CSL's test results confirm that there are no safety problems with pesticide residues in the soft drinks made by The Coca-Cola Company in India. Results from 2006 tests showed less than 0.1 ppb of any pesticide. Testing is ongoing with additional results expected this coming week," said the company.

The release also quoted Mr Rick Frazier, Vice-President of Technical Stewardship, The Coca-Cola Company saying, "There is no issue with the quality and purity of our products."

Meanwhile, PepsiCo India said in a release, " ... we are deeply concerned about consumer safety and we are also open to stricter science-based regulations... while we are already working with the Government, we are open to also working with Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and any other interested party to establish stricter science-based standards on finished products.

"This provided there is an accurate, validated and agreed upon detection method to verify compliance."

Reacting to the statement issued by PepsiCo, said Ms Sunita Narain, Director, CSE, "They are still trying to divert the issue.

"They have to clearly state whether they are willing to agree to the standards of 0.5 ppb for total pesticide content and 0.1 ppb for individual pesticide content, set by a BIS committee that had Coca-Cola, Pepsi and CSE as its members."

On the data released by Coca-Cola, Ms Narain questioned the move to test its samples in London instead of India.

She challenged the company on the results saying, "We know what we've done and we know what we've found."

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 13, 2006)
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