Karnataka Sues PepsiCo
Business Standard
August 29, 2006

Bangalore: Claiming the presence of pesticides beyond the permissible level in soft drink brands Mirinda and Pepsi, Karnataka has filed a case against PepsiCo India under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.

A fortnight ago, the state had filed a similar case against Coca-Cola.

“The government had sent 12 brands of soft drinks produced by PepsiCo and Coca-Cola for tests to government and private laboratories. Analysis of Mirinda and

Pepsi has revealed the presence of the deadly pesticide chloropyriphos (to the extent of 0.15 micro gram per litre vis-a-vis the prescribed limit of 0.10 micro gram per litre).

A case was filed against Pepsi on Friday at the small causes court,” R Ashok, the state health minister, told reporters here on Monday.

He rejected the cola companies’ argument that pesticides had entered the hydrological cycle owing to chemical farming and that they could not be held responsible for that.

“I agree that pesticides have penetrated groundwater due to various farming methods. But when a consumer pays for a soft drink, it is the obligation of the cola company to ensure that the product is free of contaminants. I do not accept their argument,” Ashok said.

Further, the minister said, chloropyriphos – found in Pepsi brand – was an organo-phosphorus compound, used as a pesticide.

“Cola companies cannot take shelter under any reason. They should eliminate pesticides before bottling the soft drinks. This is a serious offence. I am committed to taking the issue to a logical conclusion,” he said.

The government has obtained a copy of the ban order issued by Kerala prohibiting the sale of soft drinks to initiate similar steps in Karnataka.

“We are awaiting the laboratory results of all 12 soft drink brands. Subsequently, the proposal to ban the sale of colas in Karnataka will be referred to legal experts for examination,” Ashok said.

Karnataka has already imposed a ban on the sale of soft drinks in schools, colleges, hospitals and government offices.

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