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PepsiCo cheers verdict

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

The has cheered the verdict of the in the versus matter, saying they stand vindicated following the order which sets aside criminal proceedings initiated against the company by the latter.

When contacted, a spokesperson for said Pepsi’s stand was not incorrect since there were no standards for pesticide adulteration prescribed at that time. “We are not directly involved in this matter,” the spokesperson said. “Our report was merely used by the to arrive at its observations,” he said.

A spokesperson said, “has always been committed to ensuring world class quality of its products manufactured everywhere in the world and diligently follows all statutory and regulatory requirements. The verdict of is a reaffirmation of this commitment of ours.”

Sources within say it was after the release of its first report in 2003 that a (JPC) was set up with two terms of reference: one, to figure out whether the study was correct. Second, to assess the need for setting up standards for pesticide residues in soft drinks.

“Our second report in 2006 was a follow-up to the first to figure out whether the had made some progress since the first report,” said the source. “But persticide levels were still high,” he said. “It was then that we began engaging with the government to put in place standards for soft drinks.” As things stand now, India is the only country to have standards on pesticide residues in finished bottles of soft drinks. In countries abroad, the trend is to have pesticide regulation only on ingredients, not on finished products.

According to sources, the standards are stringent saying that a bottle of soft drink can contain “one part per billion of individual pesticide residue in carbonated water”. In baby food, for instance, the standard prescribed is “ten parts per billion of individual pesticide residue”.

Even then cola follow these stringent norms, argue sources from within the beverage industry.

An official from a cola company, who declined to be identified, says these standards were put in place following the initiative of the government a few years ago, which set up a committee comprising members of the beverage industry, the government and CSE.

First Published: Fri, November 19 2010. 00:39 IST