Was any test conducted at the National Test House in Kolkata, which stated that cold drinks produced by PepsiCo
And, was the ministry of health wrongly told the Lok Sabha that the test results found harmful substances in five carbonated soft drink products?
The question arose at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday, after the PET
Containers Manufacturers Association (PCMA) produced a reply got though the Right to Information law (RTI) from the National Test House (NTH), wherein the latter stated it had not conducted a test on Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Mountain Dew and 7 Up for detecting metals (like antimony, lead, chromium,cadmium and Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) between January 1, 2013 and October 5, 2016.
This comes after a statement by Faggan Singh Kulaste, minister of state for health and family welfare, to a Parliament question that the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health (AIIH&PH) in Kolkata
had conducted a study on leaching of toxics from bottles used for packaging of soft drinks. The question was based on a media article, which stated there were toxins found in soft drinks.
“AIIHPH entered into a memorandum of understanding with the NTH
for testing. Samples of five different cold drinks, viz Sprite, Mountain Dew, 7 UP, Pepsi and Coca-Cola, were selected by the stratified sampling method and the samples were submitted to NTH
for testing,” the minister had said.
in response to the RTI
has stated it was never authorised by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories for tests to detect heavy metals. “…..this also states that the statement made by NTH
that it is accredited by NABL in its MoU is false,” PCMA informed the court.
Asked about this, a health ministry official said it took into consideration the inputs given by the AIIHPH to prepare the response. Further, the official added, the government doesn't fully agree with the test results, as one cannot compare drinking water with soft drinks. “The comparison not being oranges with oranges, the health ministry does not completely agree with the report of the NTH,” the source said.
Major entities in the Rs 20,000-crore PET
industry are Reliance Industries, Dhunseri Petrochem and JBF Industries, among others.
The U-turn by NTH
would also impact the ongoing petition at NGT
for a ban on PET
for pharmaceutical bottles. Him Jagriti, an Uttarakhand-based body, had approached the tribunal in this regard, citing a test conducted by the NTH
in 2013. According to the petition, the presence of heavy metals and phthalates can cause cancer, diabetes, endocrine damage, kidney damage, reproductive diseases and obesity.