THE PESTICIDE row has led to a virtual ceasefire between Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo which have been at daggars drawn for grabbing each other’s market share in the city. But, now they are behaving like friends on the pesticide issue.
Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo would probably never joined hands behind the scenes, had the criticism from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) not given them a punch.
The strategy of the two is almost similar to keep consumers from giving up the colas. Both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo officials are now raising an emotional pitch to drive home the point that their family members drink the same cola brands available in the market.
PepsiCo officials went a little further by putting up a note in most of the retail outlets in the city which define the tolerance level of pesticides in even non-
beverage food products as defined under the Food and Adulteration Act.
On the other hand, Coca-Cola officials preferred to speak to the media at a news conference here on Saturday to hand over a detailed report on the laboratory findings of UK Government’s Central Science Laboratory (CSL) which says that pesticide residues in its brands are far below the stringent European Union (EU) standards.
“The various government laboratories have already picked up samples of Coca-Cola brands from about 25 per cent of our bottlers for analysis across the country. The reports would be shared by these laboratories with the Union Ministry of Health which demanded for the samples to be collected from Coca-Cola’s bottling plants in the country,” Asim Parekh, Vice President (Technical), Coca-Cola India told HT Lucknow Live.
On being asked if the government would also share the reports with Coca-Cola India in due course, he commented : “It appears unlikely for now although we would welcome it”.
Parekh also expressed confidence over the fact that the CSE would have collected the genuine samples from retail outlets for analysis and not the fake brands circulating around across the country.
“On this issue, we have complete faith in CSE Director Sunita Narain. There is no doubt about that”, he added.