Supreme Court Orders Thorough Examination of Soft Drink Contents
Financial Express
January 04, 2005

NEW DELHI, JAN 3: In what could be of concern for the multi-crore soft drink industry, the Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a petition seeking a thorough examination of the contents of soft drinks marketed vigorously by the manufacturers despite they being “health hazards”.

A bench comprising Chief Justice R C Lahoti and Justice G P Mathur issued the notice on a petition by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) alleging that the government, which has a duty to protect the life of citizens, has not taken any initiative in this regard despite several researches finding soft drink contents to be harmful, especially to children.

The petitioner requested the court to direct the Centre to constitute an expert technical committee to evaluate the harmful effects of soft drinks on human health and particularly on the health of children and put in place a regulatory regime to control and check the contents of particular chemical additives in foods and soft drinks.

It also requested the court to make it mandatory for the soft drink manufacturers to disclose the contents and the quality of their products including appropriate warning about ingredients and their harmful effects.

Additionally, the PIL has also demanded that cola advertising must be ‘regulated’.

It said that in early 2003, a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) was constituted to examine the pesticide content in water used in soft drinks after a report of the Center for Science and Environment was made public.

According to CPIL counsel Prashant Bhushan, the PIL was filed against the Centre, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in the Supreme Court on November 27. The PIL, however, was heard on Monday as the Supreme Court was closed for vacations.

PepsiCo India, when contacted, refused to comment on the issue, while Coca-Cola India in a statement said “As the matter is subjudice, we cannot comment on it.” It, however, said, “Our products manufactured in India are world class and safe and comply with all statutory requirements.”

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