Pesticide Manufacturers Join Cola Row; Target CSE
Two associations representing pesticide manufacturers send a legal notice to CSE saying it is giving a bad name to pesticides

Amit Shanbaug And Sanjiv Kumar
Mumbai Mirror
August 23, 2006

Mumbai, New Delhi: The cola war is heating up with more parties joining the battle. Along with the cola companies, now pesticide manufacturers are trying to prove the Delhi-based NGO, Centre for Science and Environment's findings wrong.

The Agrochemicals Promotions Group (APG) and the Crop Care Federation of India, representing more than 200 leading Indian pesticide manufacturers, have sent a legal notice to CSE.

"Though the pesticide industry had long back sent a legal notice to CSE, there has been no response from their side," S Kumarasamy, chairman of the APG said.

"The pesticide industry is committed to correct all the misconceptions that the NGOs are spreading against pesticide and its usage in India," he said.

Kumarasamy clarified that every new molecule of pesticide is introduced in the market only after a research of 8 to 10 years. "It takes an investment of about Rs 1000 crores to do so. Ours is a highly regulated industry at par with the pharmaceutical industry," he said.

He added that APG has studied the CSE's report and found that the NGO is not at all equipped to handle such a complex study. "The NGO does not have an accredited laboratory to undertake such studies which are highly sophisticated in nature," Kumarasamy added.

CSE, reacting strongly to the APG's remarks, told Mumbai Mirror that it had never received any 'legal notice' from APG. CSE Head (Food Safety Campaign) Kushal Yadav said, "They have sent a letter to us for certain clarifications. Who are they to question us and our study? Our research is online. They should also show their data to people."

Yadav clarified that CSE has all necessary equipment to test contents and extent of pesticides in food products. "The test on soft drinks is a small part of our food safety campaign. We are also doing similar tests for food products and will soon come out with their results," he added.

Meanwhile, the war of words has also begun between CSE and the Central Government with the former accusing Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss of rushing to give cola companies a 'clean chit.' Responding to a statement in Parliament by Ramadoss, questioning the validity of CSE's findings, the NGO said, "The Health Minister is clearly more concerned with industrial health - and not of the people."

In Parliament on Tuesday, Ramdoss said while results from Gujarat and Mysore laboratories on two samples of water and two of carbonated drinks have revealed that the pesticide residues were not above permissible level, directions have been issued to state and the Central laboratories to lift more samples of carbonated drinks and test them.

He said the Health ministry's expert committee held that "there was no conclusive evidence on presence of different pesticides in the concentration reported."

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