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Parliamentary panel begins probing 'toxic cola' issue

A JPC set up to probe the issue met on Tuesday to draw an action plan.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2003 14:47 IST

The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), set up to probe the presence of pesticide residues in soft drinks manufactured by multinationals Coca-Cola and Pepsi, met on Tuesday for the first time to chalk out an action plan.

The 15-member committee, headed by Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, was set up last month to probe the report of Delhi-based NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) about the high percentage of pesticide residues in 12 soft drink brands of the multinationals.

Though the government had announced in Parliament that the soft drinks did not contain pesticides of the level reported by CSE, it was nonetheless higher than the E.U. standards in almost nine cases.

The committee Tuesday saw a slide presentation by Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) R.A. Mashelkar on how the tests are conducted to determine the presence of pesticides in soft drinks and water, Pawar told the media after the meeting.

The JPC, which will present its report at the beginning of the winter session of Parliament in November, will be giving its suggestions on the safety standards for all products including soft drinks, fruit juices and other beverages where water is the main constituent.

Unlike in the West, India does not have proper standards for drinking water supplied through the taps, nor any enforceable standards for products containing water as a base.

Efforts are afoot to bring drinking water and beverages under the category of food to ensure that safety standards are followed.

First Published: Sep 16, 2003 20:03 IST