Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pesticides in Indian Coke and Pepsi

Pepsi and Coke manufactured in India still have alarming traces of pesticides according to investigations done by an Indian non-governmental organisation. It says that the Indian government has failed to set up the necessary quality-control standards for the soft drinks industry and that this is a grave public health scandal. From BBC:
CSE Director Sunita Narain told journalists in Delhi that samples from 12 states showed that Pepsi products contained 30 times more pesticides than found in 2003.

Likewise she said that Coke samples had 25 times the amount of pesticides found three years ago...

In 2003, an Indian parliamentary committee upheld the CSE findings on the presence of pesticide residues and recommended that standards were set for soft drinks too.

The Indian Food Processing Industries minister, Subodh Kant Sahay said the government would look into the matter when it receives an official complaint.
Update: Reader Rajiv says, "This is indeed a grave public health scandal! Here's the August 2006 lab reports (in pdf) and here's the inside story:
Our world changed a little when we published the study on pesticide residues in soft drinks. In the work we do, fights go with the territory. We need to challenge institutions — government and private — in the public interest. What we had not anticipated, however, was the sheer power and the virulence of the attack. The fact is that the two companies affected — Coca-Cola and PepsiCo — were incidental to our story on pesticide contamination and the need for food standards to regulate safety. The fact that two us multinationals were involved was a mere coincidence. But not for them.

The first attack was on our laboratory — they questioned the data analysis, our capabilities, our equipment and then as it got nastier, they resorted to personalised attacks on us and our integrity. Their favourite ploy was to dismiss us as a pawn in a conspiracy hatched by Europe (because we get funds from multilateral and bilateral agencies) to destroy the good name of us companies. But this was not all.
(Thanks Rajiv)


sham said...

thanks for highlighting this iz.

JP said...

I'm no scientist, but I do find the PR angle on this interesting. Why didn't Coke respond more proactively to this?

Here is a great resource about the PR side of this crisis.