Wednesday, Sep 03, 2003
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In fact, they have done "enormous harm by pushing out of the market much better drinks of our own,'' he told a press conference here. He recalled that Coca Cola and Pepsi were asked to leave in 1977 "through an initiative of George Fernandes,'' now the Defence Minister.
He asserted that the soft drink business must be "our own'' and the country did not need any foreign brand. The former CCMB director said the Government should note the recent report of the Jana Vignana Vedika that the measure of acidity (pH) of Coca Cola and Pepsi was nearly two--making it "highly acidic and extremely harmful to the digestive tract, especially taken on empty stomach.''
Referring to the results of 75 to 100 samples of Coke and Pepsi which were analysed for pesticide residue by various organisations, including the City-based Vimta Labs (at the instance of MARCH), he said a majority of the samples were contaminated at levels above permitted by the European Union. There was variation from batch to batch as the source of water used for manufacture of different batches was different.
Dr. Bhargava demanded the Centre to set appropriate standards for water, food and drink products, of pesticide contamination, in consistence with international standards. The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act should appropriately be modified to add drinks.
He wanted the Government to set up a chain of laboratories to which people could send samples of food products and beverages for analysis. The Government should pass legislation that if an organisation produced food or drink violating international safety norms it should be liable for prosecution, including withdrawal of licence or closure of factory.
The Sharad Pawar Committee should collect the data from various organisations, which analysed Coke and Pepsi samples and get it studied by an unbiased expert group. The committee should hold public hearings at seven or eight places including Hyderabad, Dr. Bhargava stated.
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