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Let scientists decide pesti level

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 15:28 IST

SOFT DRINKS major Coca-Cola India wants the involvement of the Indian scientific community in deciding the best possible method for determining the level of pesticide residues in soft drinks products in the country.

“Coca-Cola India adopts stringent standards for all the ingredients used in its beverages. These standards are backed by analytical testing protocols. One needs to ask the Director of the Centre for Science & Environment (CSE) Sunita Narain if she harbours any personal vendetta particularly against soft drink makers in the country”, Asim Parekh, VP  (Technical), Coca-Cola India, told reporters here on Saturday.

He said the soft drinks major had already moved a proposal to the Union Government to jointly work in the area of evolving a suitable standard for pesticide residues in soft drinks made in India.

“We had been asking for a scientific basis to determine the level of pesticide residues in soft drinks in India. The beverages prepared by Coca-Cola India already adheres to the highly stringent European Union (EU) criteria for pesticide residues in bottled water which are much higher than standards set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)”, Parekh said.

He said the entire range of soft drink products prepared by Coca-Cola India are regularly tested and evaluated by the Central Science Laboratory (CSL) of the UK Government whose reports have revealed that the company’s soft drink sproducts have pesticide residues far below the EU criteria for pesticide residues found in bottled water.

“Coca-Cola India wants to reiterate the fact that the company had adopted similar uncompromising commitment to product safety and quality in its beverages in India that it had been offering in other parts of the world,”  Parekh said.

Responding to a query whether the soft drinks major was expecting a drastic decline in sales after the pesticide issue rocked the country, he commented: “ Give us a month’s time to assess any sales losses in India”.

On being asked about the reports regarding Kerala Government banning the operation of Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in its State, Parekh said till Friday evening the company had not received any notification from the Kerala Government on its decision to ban operation of its plant in that State .