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M'rashtra's hands tied despite finding pesticides in Pepsi

Govt will fail to act against Pepsi in the absence of specific laws, Maharashtra's food authority said.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON AUG 23, 2003 08:25 PM IST

Though Maharashtra has served a show cause notice to Pepsi after tests confirmed high pesticide content in their drinks, the Government will fail to take any action against the company, the state's top food authority said on Saturday.

"Though we have found high levels of lindane, a toxic pesticide, in four Pepsi brands taken from their plant in Raigad, we are unable to take any action under present FDA act," said Uttam Khobragade, Maharashtra's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner.

Though a Central government guideline sets a "permissible limit" of 0.1 microgram per litre for lindane in packaged and mineral water, there is no such specification for carbonated water.

The Residue Testing Wing of Pune's Insecticide Testing Laboratory conducted tests for traces of 33 pesticides on samples taken from the Pepsi plant in Raigad. The report says that "Pepsi" had 0.76 microgram/liter lindane presence, "Diet Pepsi" had 0.62 microgram/liter of lindane, "Miranda Orange" had  0.25 microgram/litre of lindane and "Mountain Dew" had 0.35 microgram/liter of the pesticide.

"The department has issued notice to Pepsi Limited," Khobragade said. "We have also sent the  report to the Centre, and asked it for guidelines on permissible limit for pesticides in soft drinks."

Tests are yet to be carried out on Coca Cola drinks. Results are expected by Sunday.

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