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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 10:34 AM
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Pesticides in sodas rekindle Indian ire
Coke and Pepsi face bans and government takes heat following a study last week.

By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
NEW DELHI After investing more than $1 billion in India over the past decade, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have found themselves once again in the center of a debate over pesticide residues in their products and corporate responsibility to protect customers.
Surveying Coke and Pepsi products from around the country, the Center for Science and Environment found pesticide residues in the products of the two soda giants - which together dominate more than 90 percent of the growing Indian soda market. The report, coming three years after CSE's first study found pesticide traces, shines light on India's weak food-safety laws, and threatens the profitability of two of India's biggest foreign investors. "This is not a battle for Coke and Pepsi," says Sunita Narain, director of the CSE in New Delhi. "This is a battle for a gutsy regulator. If the government is dealing with a large, powerful company that can get away with murder, it does not build confidence that it will deal with the other areas of food safety."

The debate over Coke and Pepsi in India is a story of a long love-hate relationship. Loved by the newly prosperous Indian middle class as a hip Western accessory, and distrusted by religious conservatives and old-style leftists as symbols of Western domination in a globalized world, Coke and Pepsi have a way of inflaming passions. For environmentalists, Coke and Pepsi are useful tools to prod the Indian government into more rigorous food-safety regulation in a country where water contamination and increased pesticide use are growing matters of concern. "Big companies make big news. Big companies of mighty nations make bigger news. I personally do not think that this reflects anti-Americanism of the middle class," says Rajeev Bhargava, a political science professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. "The Indian middle class ... panics very easily when it comes to matters related to health."

In a country that has long debated the wisdom of drinking cold drinks in the summer - traditionalists say that hot drinks are more cooling, since they cause one to perspire - a report showing the existence of pesticides at high levels was almost certain to cause revulsion. In 57 samples of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo drinks produced in 12 Indian states, the CSE found the average amount of pesticide residues to be 11.85 parts per billion (ppb), 34 times higher than the permitted limit set by the Bureau of Indian Standards. These standards by the BIS have been drafted but not implemented.

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gula Donating Member (619 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:55 AM
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1. These standards by the BIS have been drafted but not implemented
Plus a change ......

BTW, does anybody know whether the Bopal(sp?) victims ever got any compensation?
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