Colas meet Indian norms

New Delhi: In a statement made in the Indian Parliament yesterday, Union Health Minister Sushma Swaraj said only three samples of soft drinks were found to have pesticides below the limits set by the European Union (EU) norms.

The 12 soft drink brands, however, were found to meet the existing Indian norms, which have not been the bone of contention in the present controversy (See ).

Soft drink manufacturers were recently put in the dock by the environmental organisation, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), when it revealed in its study that 12 soft drink brands belonging to the Coca-Cola and PepsiCo stable contained pesticide residues.

Swaraj's statement follows sample analysis done by two laboratories, the Mysore-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) and the Kolkata-based Central Food Laboratory (CFL).

"CFTRI has reported that out of 12 samples, pesticide residues were below the EU limits in three samples. In the remaining nine, they were found above the limits. The number of times the residues are higher than the EU limits ranges from 1.6 to 5.2 whereas the CSE report alleges that the number of times the resides were higher than the EU limits range from 11 to 70 times," she said. Similar findings were reported from CFL, too.

When the controversy broke out, both the cola majors had maintained that they meet not just the Indian norms but EU norms as well. Swaraj said: "The assertion of the soft drink manufacturers that their product is within the EU limits has not proved to be correct for 100 per cent of the samples."