January 11, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) last week came out with a new report on the levels of pesticides in soft drinks available in the market.
The reports stated that the presence of an average of three to five different pesticides in all the samples, 24 times higher than the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) norms, which have been finalised but not yet notified.
The latest CSE study is based on tests conducted on 57 samples of 11 soft drink brands from 25 different manufacturing plants of Coca-Cola and Pepsico that are located in 12 states.
For example the level found in Coca-Cola bought in from Kolkata exceeded the BIS standards by 140 times for the deadly pesticide Lindane, a confirmed carcinogen.
Similarly, a Coca-Cola sample manufactured in Thane contained 200 times more of the neurotoxin, Chlorpyrifos, than the BIS standard, said Sunita Narain of CSE while releasing the report here.
Three years after the Union Government released its first findings on pesticide residue in soft drinks, the new study shows that nothing much has changed and soft drinks remain unsafe and unhealthy. Even the directions given by the Joint Parliamentary Committee have been disregarded: standards for safety have been finalised but blocked because of opposition by the companies, Ms. Narain alleged.
Earlier in 2003, the average level of pesticide residue in samples from Delhi was 34 times above the same BIS standard, but this time the CSE has found pesticide residue as high as 52 times in bottles brought in from Kolkata and 42 times in bottles bought in from Nainital and Gorakhpur. Similarly, bottles bought in from Mumbai, manufactured in Thane and Nagpur, allegedly had residue 34 times above the BIS standard.
It is interesting to note that the synthetic food named Heptachlor, is banned in India, But still it was allegedly found in 71 per cent of the samples, at levels four times higher than BIS standards.
The average amount of pesticide residue found in all the samples was 11.85 parts per billion (ppb) or 24 times higher than the BIS standards for total pesticides in soft drinks (0.5 ppb). Pepsi Cola contained 30 times higher residue on an average, while Coca-Cola contained 27 times higher than average, reads the report as published in an English vernacular.