India turns up the heat on Coke and Pepsi

By Chris Mercer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soft drinks Coca-cola India

Pressure was growing on the soft drink giants early this week after
India's Supreme Court ordered them to reveal every ingredient in
their drinks, following tests that found they were contaminated
with pesticides.

Judges at the court have given Coca-Cola and PepsiCo four weeks to reply to their demand to see a complete ingredients list for the affected drinks, according to the Press Trust of India​.

Pressure has grown on Coke on Pepsi after independent lab tests on 57 samples of their beverages found pesticide residues at an average 24 times higher than the government's proposed maximum limit.

The results, published by the campaigns group Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), could hit Coke and Pepsi's sales in a soft drinks market growing at between seven and eight per cent per year.

Both companies have sought to reassure consumers their products were safe.

Coca-Cola said in a statement released to​: "For our products in India, we have undertaken regular pesticide testing on ingredients and finished products at CSL, a world-leading laboratory in London. These tests show 'no detectable level' of pesticides."

Still, authorities in several Indian states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, have banned cola drinks from public buildings following the CSE report. Other states were reportedly considering doing the same.

Several members of India's parliament staged a walk-out last week in protest at what they claimed was a lack of government action to bring soft drinks firms into line.

The new CSE report echoes a similar study by the same group in 2003, which found soft drinks in Delhi contaminated with pesticides at levels above international standards.

India's Parliament endorsed the results and asked for standards to be set on pesticides in fizzy soft drinks. These have now been drafted by the Bureau of Indian Standards, but continued debate has kept them from being implemented.

Coca-Cola said its drinks in India complied with local and international beverage standards. It repeated comments made by the Indian Soft Drinks Manufacturers' Association, saying it had worked with the Indian government to develop and finalise guidelines for pesticides in soft drinks.

The Bureau of Indian Standards has set provisional limits of 0.1 parts per billion (ppb) for individual pesticides in fizzy drinks and 0.5ppb for total pesticide content.

CSE's test results, spread across 11 brands, found more than 11ppb of pesticides in soft drinks on average. The group said its lab had the international quality standard ISO 9001:2000, and that it used state-of-the-art GC-MS testing equipment.

Related topics R&D Carlsberg PepsiCo

Related news

Show more

Follow us


View more