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Govt lab finds high pesticides level in colas

The CFL report said some cola samples had pesticides level much higher than permissible EU norms.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2003 19:17 IST

A Government research institute on Thursday revealed that some of the soft drink samples from Pepsi and Coke contained much higher levels of pesticides like lindane and DDT than permissible under the European Union norms.

The report of the Central Food Laboratory (CFL), released by the Government here, said that pesticide lindane was present in all the soft drinks that were tested but was higher by 1.1 to 1.4 times the Eurpoean norms in 33 per cent of the samples.

Likewise, many of the samples contained DDT and metabolites above the EEC norms, it added.

Another pesticide chlorpyriphos was also present in all the samples, it said.

Briefing reporters on the CFL report, Health Minister Sushma Swaraj had said that all the 12 brands contained pesticides - three had pesticide level below the European Union norms while nine had above these norms.

Reacting to allegations that the report was not accessible, Swaraj on Wednesday said, "There is nothing hidden on the issue." The labs had lifted the cold drink samples from the market and these were manufactured in the same bottling plants as those tested by the Centre for Science and Environment.

The report said that the levels of DDT and metabolites, which were present in 58 per cent of the samples, exceeded European Union norms in the range of 1.8 to 12.4 times.

The pesticide chlorpyriphos, present in all the samples, exceeded the EU limit in 75 per cent of the samples, the report said adding no samples contained malathion.

The report said that as the samples analysed at CFL were entirely from a different batch than the CSE samples, the results are not comparable with the results of CSE.

Reacting to the report, Centre For Science and Environment's (CSE) coordinator for industry and pollution unit, Chandrabhushan said that trends depicted in the CFL's report are similar to what CSE had found.

According to both the reports, Diet Pepsi had the lowest pesticide levels while Miranda had the highest.

However, the lower pesticide levels detected by CFL in comparison to those found by CSE may be due to the dilution factor. While CSE had lifted the samples in March-April when ground water levels are low with higher pesticides, Government collected samples in August when ground water levels had risen, it said.

First Published: Aug 29, 2003 00:00 IST