Coca-Cola Challenges Labeling Order to State Pesticides in Products
Economic Times
March 11, 2008

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday admitted leading soft drinks majors Coca-Cola and PepsiCo's petitions challenging the Rajasthan High Court's judgement that asked them to specify ingredients along with pesticide levels in their products.

A bench headed by Justice B N Agarwal, while granting leave, directed the matter to come up in due course.

The High Court, while directing the companies to make "a complete and full disclosure", had asked them to either declare that soft-drinks did not contain pesticide residues.

Challenging the HC order, the two MNCs had moved the apex court in August 2005 on the ground that such a disclosure could not be printed on their bottles without fixation of standards by the Central Government.

They contended that there was no material available to conclude that soft-drinks manufactured by them contained contaminating materials, including pesticides, beyond permissible limit.

Senior counsel K K Venugopal, appearing for the cola majors, said the Food Safety and Standards Bill 2005 had already been introduced in Parliament and it would take care of all issues involved in the matter.

According to the MNCs, the High Court order had mechanically formulated a declaration without considering whether such a declaration would serve the intended purpose of promoting informed choice by the consumer.

The order had come on a public interest litigation filed by Jaipur-based social activist Santosh Mittal. He has also filed cross-petitions against the HC order alleging that it had failed to give specific directions to the MNCs.

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