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> US Warns India Over Soft Drinks Ban, Harmful Pesticides in Coke and Pepsi


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Posted: Aug 16 2006, 01:46 PM
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QUOTE
US Warns on India Soft Drinks Ban 
Published on Monday, August 14, 2006 by the BBC 
A US official has warned India that bans imposed on soft drinks like Coca Cola and Pepsi could blight its hopes of attracting American investment.
QUOTE
Members from a political party step on bottles during a protest calling for the ban of all soft drink companies, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad August 5, 2006.

Local arms of cola giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo were asked by India's Supreme Court on Friday to respond to a petition seeking to force them to list all chemicals present in their drinks on bottles.

user posted image

The move comes two days after a local environmental group, the Centre for Science and Environment, said it had found pesticide residues in the companies' drinks in excess of international guidelines. REUTERS/Amit Dave (INDIA)

Frank Lavin, under secretary for international trade, said the row was a setback for the Indian economy.

Six Indian states have announced partial or complete bans on the soft drinks after claims that the drinks contain harmful pesticides.

Both soft drinks manufacturers have said their products are safe.

Five Indian states have announced partial bans on the drinks in schools, colleges and hospitals. Southern Kerala state is the first to completely ban their production and sale.

Mr Lavin told the AFP news agency that it would be unfortunate if the loudest voices were those who did not want to treat foreign companies fairly.

'Absolutely safe'

A spokesman for one of the Indian industry federations. Kiran Pasricha, said he hoped US companies would see the row in the context of local politics and would not base their investment plans based on it.

The governments in the states which have banned the soft drinks have said they have taken the step because the drinks pose a health risk.

The ban by the states is the most severe reaction to a report released recently by an Indian non-government organisation, the Centre for Science and Environment.


It said tests carried on samples of the drinks across 12 Indian states revealed dangerously high levels of pesticides.

Both Coca Cola and Pepsi have disputed the report's findings, saying their drinks meet international safety standards.

The Indian Soft Drinks Manufacturers Association has echoed the same sentiment.

"Our products manufactured in India are absolutely safe and meet every safety standard set by food health and regulatory bodies in India and all over the world," it said.

In 2003, the Indian parliament upheld a similar report by the NGO, alleging that soft drinks sold by the two companies in India contained pesticides.

It recommended that India set purity standards for soft drinks.

But three years later, the government is yet to act on the recommendation.

© BBC MMVI

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0814-04.htm




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