Friday, August 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Norms on water in colas to be reviewed

New Delhi, August 7
Taking note of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report alleging presence of high level of pesticides in soft drinks sold by Coca-Cola and Pepsico in India, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) today said it would soon review “voluntary” standards for potable water used in manufacturing beverages.

The bureau, however, washed its hands off the controversy, saying that it did not issue licences for soft drinks.

The BIS officials said they would meet on August 16 to review the standards but asserted that their role was limited since it was the Health Ministry that issued licences for manufacturing of soft drinks and the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA) comes under its purview.

The BIS fixes mandatory standards for bottled water as it provides ISI certification for the packaged water but it does not set any such mandatory standard for soft drinks, they said.

Health Minister Sushma Swaraj had stated in the Lok Sabha yesterday that further action would be taken in the matter after a detailed report from the departments concerned, including the Food Processing Ministry.

After ascertaining all facts, she would inform the House about the future course of action, she said.

The CSE on Tuesday had claimed that 12 brands of soft drinks manufactured by MNC giants Pepsico and Coca-Cola contain ‘a deadly cocktail of pesticide residues’ capable of causing cancer, birth defects and reducing bone density.

But Coke and Pepsi, on the other hand, maintained that the laboratory tests conducted by the CSE could not be authentic and certified as the CSE laboratory was not accredited with the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration for Laboratories. — UNI

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