Cola Muddle: CFL Backs CSE Findings

New Delhi, Aug 30: | Updated: Aug 31 2003, 05:30am hrs
Supporting the claim of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) that soft drink companies in the country are not conforming to international standards of production, the Central Food Laboratory (CFL) has found that six brands of Pepsi and Coke exceed the European Union limit of pesticides content.

The Kolkata-based CFL, a unit of the Union health and family welfare ministry, in its analysis of pesticide residues in soft drinks in samples, which was officially released here on Saturday, said Mountain Dew, Mirinda Orange, Mirinda Lemon (all brands of PepsiCo), Coca-Cola, Fanta and Thums Up (brands of Coca-Cola India) exceed the European Economic Community (EEC) limits of 0.0005mg/litre. However, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Blue Pepsi, 7 Up, Limca and Sprite are found containing pesticides within the EEC limits.

While Mountain Dew (0.00119mg/litre) contains pesticides 2.38 times more than the EEC limit, Mirinda Orange (0.00261mg/litre) had pesticides 5.22 times more than the limits. Similarly, Mirinda Lemon (0.00174 mg/litre) had pesticides 3.48 times more than the EEC limits.

The CFL said Coca-Cola (0.0006mg/litre) is 1.2 time more than the EU limit, Fanta (0.00181mg/litre) 3.62 times more and Thums Up (0.00063mg/litre) 1.26 times more than the EU limits.

Pepsi has pesticides content of 0.00009mg/litre which is within the limits of the EU specifications. Diet Pepsi has 0.00036mg/litre, Blue Pepsi has 0.00022mg/litre, 7UP has 0.00033mg/litre, Limca has 0.00042mg/litre and Sprite has 0.00012mg/litre.

The report has in all analysed 12 samples of which three are conforming to the EU limits and nine exceed the limits. It said six samples contained organochlorines and seven contained organophosphorus, exceeding EU limit of 0.0001mg/litre.

Six samples have pesticides exceeding EU limit of 0.0005mg/litre safety standards.

Meanwhile, according to a PTI report, officials of both Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo India asserted that their products are totally safe and complied with the water standards of the EU while clarifying that there are no norms for soft drinks per se any where in the world.

The government has already said our drinks are safe for consumption on the basis of the reports released today and two days earlier, Sunil Gupta, vice-president of Coca-Cola India told this agency.