Daily News Archive
September 5, 2006
Pepsi Contamination Continues in India
(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2006) A new
report on pesticide contamination of India’s Coke and Pepsi products
has sparked bans of the companies’ products in several regions
of the country. The issue has highlighted the widespread presence of
pesticides in India and the country’s lack of national standards
for many consumer items, including food products.
Since the report
was released several weeks ago, seven of India’s 28 states have
enacted partial or full bans on Coke and Pepsi products, and over 10,000
schools have put bans in place. The state of Kerala has implemented
a full ban on both production and sale of the products – an action
that has been temporarily upheld by the state’s High Court despite
the national government’s attack on the study’s validity.
The report, conducted
by the Centre for
Science and Environment (CSE), is a follow up of their 2003
study. The findings, based on 57 samples from 12 states, include:
- A cocktail of
3-6 pesticides was present in all samples.
- Lindane (a confirmed
carcinogen) levels were over 54 times above the Bureau of Indian Standards
(BIS) acceptable levels; in one Coca-Cola sample from Kolkata, it
was 140 times higher.
(a known neurotoxin) levels were 47 times higher than BIS standards;
a Coca-Cola sample from Mumbai had a level 200 times higher.
- Heptachlor, banned
in India, was found in 71 per cent of the samples, at levels 4 times
higher than BIS standards.
- Average amount
of pesticide residues found in all the samples was 11.85 parts per
billion (ppb) — 24 times higher than the BIS standards for total
pesticides in soft drinks (0.5 ppb).
- Pepsi contained
30 times higher residues on an average.
- Coca-Cola contained
27 times higher residues on an average.
Coke and Pepsi have
remained relatively quiet on the issue despite undisclosed economic
losses. A Coke spokesman says that the company is reaching out to stakeholders,
including CSE. CSE is hoping for the implementation of national pesticide
standards on soft drinks, something that Coke and Pepsi are believed
to be pressuring India’s government to delay in order to avoid