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Govt statement on soft drinks unfortunate: CSE

CSE dubbed as ?very unfortunate? Govt's statement that the pesticides content in soft drinks was within prescribed standards.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2003 18:00 IST

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Thursday dubbed as "very unfortunate" government's statement in Lok Sabha that the pesticides content in soft drinks was well within the prescribed standards for bottled water "at present".

It said the NGO has, in fact, been vindicated by the government's probe which too detected pesticides in seven of the 12 bottles which were put to test.

CSE director Sunita Narain, however, welcomed Health Minister Sushma Swaraj's statement that government may consider applying European Union norms for water used in soft drinks.

"Even the tests by Health Ministry have found pesticides in seven of the 12 brands, which were tested, though lower than what CSE has found. So to give a clean chit to these companies is very unfortunate and instead government should go in for more tests and that too on old samples," she said.

She cautioned against companies bringing new bottles into the market and said government should go in for more testing of "older" samples to get into bottom of the matter.

She said in both the CSE and government directed tests pesticides have been found in soft drinks, much higher than what was permissible under European Union's norms for water.

She said by forming a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the matter, the issue is being dragged which was uncalled for.

But at the same time to form a JPC to look into the matter tantamounts to the fact that all is not well and further tests need to be conducted.

It is a case involving public health but so far government controls and regulation on soft drink manufacturers have been very weak, she added.

First Published: Aug 21, 2003 15:24 IST