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States told to test Pepsi, Coke

The Union Health Ministry asks state governments to test samples of various varieties of soft drink for pesticides.

india Updated: Aug 04, 2006 23:04 IST

In the wake of the controversy over pesticide level in Pepsi and Coke, the Union Health Ministry has asked state governments to lift samples of different varieties of soft drinks for testing.

Asked whether any study has been conducted on Indian brands of softdrinks, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told reporters in New Delhi that based on Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) report the Centre asked the state government to lift samples of different products for a check.

To a question whether any campaign would be launched against soft drinks on the pattern of anti-smoking drive, Ramadoss said, "we will be doing that".

"We already have standards on quality of soft drinks. The onus is on the manufacturers and it should be pesticide-free", he said.

Pointing out that he has been saying that drinking of coke was detrimental to the health of children, Ramadoss said, "it is not only coke but junk food like pizzas".

Earlier in the day, Ramadoss held a meeting with senior officials of his ministry in the light of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)'s findings about high level of pesticides in the soft drinks and the Supreme Court's issuance of notices to soft drink majors Pepsico and Coca Cola.

"We have received a report from the CSE and we will go through it", he said. 

The health minister said he would make a statement in the Parliament on Monday on the issue of pesticides in soft drinks. "The issue is in the Parliament. On Monday, I will be making a statement and after that I will meet you".

Taking a serious note of CSE findings, a strong demand for an immediate ban on Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola and nine other soft drinks was made in the Lok Sabha on Thursday with members alleging that consuming them was nothing short of slow poisoning.