We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

The Indian branches of Coca Cola and Pepsi have denied that their soft drinks contain dangerous levels of pesticides.

The denial follows allegations by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) — an independent public interest organisation based in New Delhi — that levels of pesticides in the companies' Indian products are more than 30 times greater than guidelines used by the European Union. Coca Cola has responded by calling the CSE report "incorrect and baseless".

CSE acknowledges that all Indian soft drink brands are likely to contain high levels of pesticides — owing to the presence of these chemicals in the country's groundwater. But the organisation has specifically chosen to target Coca Cola and Pepsi because they account for the majority of bottled soft drinks consumed in India.

Coca Cola, however, insists that there is "no duality of standards" between its Indian and US products, and both companies are calling for the allegations to be verified by an independent laboratory.

The controversy follows a similar report by CSE earlier this year on bottled water sold by Pepsi, Coca Cola and other companies, which finally led the India government to tighten regulations and withdraw quality certificates given to some of India's most popular brands of bottled water.

The director of CSE, Sunita Narain, warns that the toxins found in the drinks could, if consumed over a long period, cause cancer, birth defects and damage to the nervous and immune systems.

© SciDev.Net 2003

Link to Associated Press article 'Cola companies deny allegations of pesticides in their soft drinks
Link to CSE article 'Colonisation's dirty dozen'
Link to Coca Cola response to CSE's allegations

Related topics