Sunday, August 31, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

UK lab finds cola samples safe

New Delhi, August 30
Taking heed of the public outcry following the CSE expose on soft drinks, the Central Government has issued a draft amendment notification of the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Rules, 1955, to regulate beverages, fish and other food products even as the Central Food Laboratory (CFL) report today said six brands of PepsiCo and Coca-Cola in India contained pesticide residues exceeding European Union (EU) norms.

However, the biggest testing facility in Britain, Central Science Laboratory, found the soft drinks safe for ‘’human consumption’’ after putting two bottles each of Coca-Cola and Pepsi to the test. The samples were sent to Britain by the newsweekly ‘’Outlook’’, which picked them from the eatery ‘’Bengal Sweet House’’ in the Safdarjung Enclave Market here.

The cola samples were tested for traces of 35 pesticides to a level of one part in 10 billion. Out of a total of 35, no traces were found of 31 at or above the one-per-10 billion level, which is also the European Union norm for individual pesticides in beverages.

The gazette notification of the Union Health Ministry, dated August 26, 2003, and officially released for the public today, gave a period of 30 days for ‘’objections or suggestions’’ before a confirmatory was issued.

The new draft rules will come into force on the day of their final publication in the official gazette. Under the new rules, beverages like carbonated water, fruit and vegetable juices, fruit syrup, fruit squash, fruit beverages or fruit drinks, soft drink concentrates and ready-to-serve beverages will be permitted 0.01 mgpl (mg per litre) of lead, 0.05 mgpl copper, 0.05 arsenic, 250 mgpl tin, 5.0 mgpl zinc, 0.01 mgpl cadmium, 0.001 mgpl mercury, 0.05 mgpl chromium and 0.02 mgpl nickel.

The amount of insecticide residues in carbonated water, fruits and vegetable juices, fruit syrup, fruit squash, fruit beverages or fruit drinks, soft drink concentrates and ready-to-serve beverages ‘’considered individually’’ will not exceed more than 0.0001 mgpl and total pesticide residues will have be permitted upto 0.0005 mgpl, the declaratory notification said.

The declaratory said ‘’internationally established test methods’’ of analysis would be used to establish whether the residues conformed to the new standards in case of any doubt.

It reads: ‘’The Central Government, without consultation of the Central Committee for Food Standards, proposed to make, in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to Sub-section (1) of section 23 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, (37 of 1954), is hereby published as required by said Sub-section for the information of all persons likely to be affected...’’

The CFL, a Kolkata-based unit of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in its analysis referred to it by the Directorate-General of Health Services (DGHS) said in its report made public today that Mountain Dew, Mirinda Orange, Mirinda Lemon (all brands of PepsiCo), Coca-Cola, Fanta and Thums UP (brands of Coca-Cola India) exceeded the EU limits of 0.0005 mgpl.

Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Blue Pepsi, 7 UP, Limca and Sprite were found containing pesticides within the EEC limits.

While Mountain Dew (0.00119 mgpl) contained pesticides 2.38 times more than the EU limit, Mirinda Orange (0.00261 mgpl) had pesticides 5.22 times exceeding the limits. Similarly, Mirinda Lemon (0.00174 mgpl) had pesticides 3.48 times beyond the EU nroms. The CFL said Coca Cola (0.0006 mgpl) was 1.2 times, Fanta (0.00181 mgpl) 3.62 times and Thums Up (0.00063 mgpl) 1.26 times more than EU standards. — UNI

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