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Coke clean, Pepsi in trouble

A Govt lab supports CSE's claims of pesticides in colas, but gives a clean chit to Coke, reports Subhendu Maiti.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2006 02:21 IST

The word is finally out. Pepsi has pesticides almost three times the permissible limit. What was claimed by the New Delhi-based non-governmental organisation Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has now been supported by the National Test House (NTH), a central government laboratory.

The NTH — which recently replenished itself with all the necessary state-of-the-art testing equipment — test report also revealed that pesticide content in Coca Cola samples were within the permissible limit.

RN Mukherjee, director NTH, told the Hindustan Times, “We have found the presence of pesticides in a sample of Pepsi. I would not comment further on the matter. The report has been sent to the state consumer affairs department.”

Consumer Affairs Minister Naren Dey said, “We have received the central lab test report on cold drink samples. But I am yet to go through it. We will take necessary steps if we find pesticide content in the samples cross the minimum limit.”

The consumer affairs department had sent some samples of Coca Cola and Pepsi to the NTH lab to verify pesticide content after the CSE’s claim sparked off countrywide controversy.

Senior NTH officials said that the total presence of pesticides — like choloropyrophos — in the Pepsi sample was almost three times the minimum 0.5 parts per billion level (PPB), as per European standards. The individual presence of residual pesticides had also crossed the permissible limit — 0.1 PPB level.

“The tests of the cold drink samples have taken about two weeks to determine the residual contents. We have well-equipped modern test facilities in the state,” Mukherjee claimed.

He added, “In our country, we do not have standards for pesticide content in cold drinks. We depend on European standards. Concerned authorities bothat the Centre and state should look into this matter.”

First Published: Sep 05, 2006 02:21 IST