M A I N   N E W S

JPC report confirms pesticides in colas
Raps Health Ministry for tardiness
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 4
The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on pesticide residue in soft drinks has taken a serious note of the working of the government, particularly the Ministry of Health, which took action only as a result of the findings of an NGO “rather than any systematic approach based on scientific studies”.

The JPC on pesticide residues in and safety standards for soft drinks, fruit juice and other beverages, set up in the wake of findings of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) that major soft drinks in the country had pesticide residues, said in its 184-page report that “keeping in view the vital issue of the health of the population of our country, the revision of standards has to be an ongoing process which should draw the serious attention of all ministries concerned, particularly the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare...”

Since the monitoring of pesticide residue levels in food comes under the purview of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the report pointed out saying that “while the Registration Committee registers pesticide for their usage, the maximum residue limit (MRL) in food commodities are prescribed by the Ministry of Health under the PFA Act, 1954, and rules framed thereunder.

“At present, 181 pesticides are registered in the country”, the JPC pointed out and observed with dismay that “out of 181 pesticides, MRLs for only 71 pesticides have been fixed under the PFA Act.”

“The committee notes with concern that the soft drink industry in India, with an annual turnover of Rs 6,000 crore, is unregulated”, the report said.

Appreciating the CSE, the report said the CFL-CFTRI of Mysore and the CFL Kolkata analysed independently samples of the same 12 brands collected and sent to them by the Directorate General of Health Services.

“Both laboratories also detected the presence of organochlorine and organophosphorous pesticide residues. The presence of pesticide residues is, therefore, a common scientific finding of all the three laboratories,” the report said.

However, on the quantitative aspect, the results of the CSE and those of the CFL-CFTRI and the CFL vary widely.

“The committee has no hesitation in admitting that as explained by different experts who deposed before it, variations in analytical research is a well-known factor..... in the instant case there have undoubtedly been variations in the samples which had different batch numbers and were manufactured at different locations.”

“Even though all the three laboratories employed the same analytical procedure, differences were noticed in the way the procedure was performed..... with the result that the differences could be significant,” it said.

Dismissing claims by Coke and Pepsi that since more than half of their operations were through franchisee-owned bottling plants, these franchisees should adhere to quality norms, the JPC termed these explanations as “unsatisfactory”.



Coke, Pepsi say products safe
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 4
Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi today said that their products in India were “safe” and met international quality standards.

“Our products manufactured in India are world class and safe. We follow one quality system across the world,” Coke said in a statement here.

“We have always produced beverages in India that are absolutely safe and made according to the same high quality standards we use around the world,” Pepsi Foods said in another statement.


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