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Indian Government Confirms Pesticide Contamination in Coke and Pepsi Products
(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2004) On February 4, 2004, the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) set up by the Indian government to examine the issue of pesticide residues in, and safety standards for, soft drinks, fruit juices and other beverages, confirmed unacceptable pesticide residues in Coke and Pepsi products sold in the country. According to the Washington Post, the 15-member committee released its 180-page report in Parliament six months after the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), a private watchdog group based in New Delhi, asserted that 12 brands of soda made by the two American companies contained high levels of four extremely toxic pesticides: lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos. The group said these pesticides could damage the human nervous system.

The report said the center was "correct on the presence of pesticide residues in carbonated water in respect of three samples each of 12 brand products of PepsiCo and Coca-Cola."

CSE researchers, who point out that pesticide residues in beverages stem from widespread use of toxic chemicals in agriculture in India that lead to contaminated groundwater, examined pesticide levels in twelve leading brands of soft drinks sold in Delhi. Mirinda Lemon was the most contaminated with 70 times the pesticide levels permitted by the European Economic Commission (EEC). Coke had 45 times the amount and Fanta, Mirinda Orange and Pepsi had 43, 39 and 37 times respectively. The EEC limit for total pesticides is 0.0005 mg/liter. Pesticide levels in Coca-Cola were found at 0.0223 mg/litre, and at .0187 mg/liter for Pepsi.

The pesticide residues found in these soft drinks are dangerous toxic chemicals that have been either banned or severely restricted in the U.S. The chemicals found were lindane, chlorpyrifos, and DDT. The group also analyzed the content of both Pepsi and Coke in the U.S. and found no pesticides.

To read these reports, and for further details regarding these studies, visit the CSE website. You may tell Coca-Cola India how you feel by commenting on their website. You may call PepsiCo at (914) 253-2000.