U.S. Water News Online
NEW DELHI -- A southern Indian state has banned the sale or
manufacture of Coke, Pepsi, Sprite and other soft drinks made by the
Indian subsidiaries of Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc., an official
Four Indian states have already banned the sale of Coke, Pepsi and
other soft drinks at schools, colleges and government offices after a
research group in New Delhi claimed they contained high levels of
pesticide residue. But the state of Kerala was the first to impose a
total ban on production and sales.
The moves will likely hurt local sales of Coca Cola and PepsiCo,
which account for nearly 80 percent of India's $2 billion-plus soft
Kerala's health secretary, Viswas Mehta, told The Associated Press
the state banned the drinks because of concerns over pesticide
Mehta, reached by telephone, said his department has also begun
collecting samples of Coke and Pepsi for independent testing.
The offices of Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo India were shut because
of a national holiday and company officials could not be reached
immediately for comment.
But the companies said in a joint statement that both "comply with
stringent international norms and all applicable national
The Center for Science and Environment in New Delhi said it found
pesticide residues in samples of Coke and Pepsi that were 24 times
above the limits set by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
The center said it carried out tests on 57 samples taken from 11
soft drink brands made by Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo India and found
a "cocktail of three to five different pesticides," all apparently
present in groundwater used to make the drinks.
The toxins could, if consumed over a long period, cause cancer,
damage to the nervous system, birth defects and disruption of the
immune system, the center said.
India's Supreme Court has since asked the two companies to
disclose the contents of their soft drinks. Four Indian states --
Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh -- have already
imposed a ban on sale of Coke and Pepsi at colleges, schools and
government offices. Several other states have said they are examining
Recently, PepsiCo placed advertisements with several Indian
newspapers saying the company follows Indian government's regulations
and that the "pesticide residues present in soft drinks are
Insisting that food items across the world are bound to contain
residues of pesticides used by farmers, the company said what is
important is whether the residues conform to norms set by the World
Health Organization and other national authorities.
"Our beverages in India are suitable for anyone, anywhere," the
statement said. "We drink them. We share them with our families and
friends. And we know they are safe for you."
This is not the first time Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in India are
facing charges of pesticide content in their soft drinks.
The allegations surfaced three years ago, when the Center for
Science and Environment said its tests revealed PepsiCo and Coca-Cola
drinks sold in India contained pesticides that were respectively 36
and 30 times higher than European Union safety standards.
At the time, the companies acknowledged that their sales had gone
down for several months, until the controversy slowly faded from
Return to the
U.S. Water News' past archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.