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JPC to moot tough norms for colas

January 29, 2004 14:23 IST

The Joint Parliamentary Committee looking into the issue of pesticides in colas has shared the concern over high levels of pesticides in the drinks and is likely to recommend stringent norms for soft drinks to safeguard the health of the people, when it presents its report in Parliament on February 5.

"We, in the report, have tried to draw the attention of the government to the health aspects," Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Nirupam, who is a member of the JPC, said in New Delhi.

On the findings of the Centre for Science and Environment, which has stated that Coke and Pepsi contained dangerous levels of pesticides, Nirupam said the NGO is doing a good job and efforts have been made to address its concerns.

Meanwhile, according to sources, the report instead of merely upbraiding the government for not taking preventive measures, will recommend practical measures.

The report has, however, pulled up the health ministry for not taking action against the cola companies for their advertisements claiming their products are pesticide free which is in clear violation of the Food Adulteration Act.

The JPC report would also call for expeditiously putting in place "world class" quality norms for finished cola drinks and not merely the water that is utilised, the sources said.

In the event of implementation of the recommendation, India may well be the first country to set norms for individual constituents in soft drinks, they said.

Although the JPC's terms of reference also included the norms for carbonated and other beverages, the committee has found little time to provide any detailed finding on the fruit and vegetable juices.

It may be recalled that the JPC sought an extension till the Budget session of Parliament and had to hurry up its report in the wake of the impending Lok Sabha elections.

Those who made presentations before the JPC include representatives of health ministry, the Central Ground Water Board, Ground Water Authority, the secretary of Water Resources, the CSE, besides Coca Cola and Pepsico.

The 300-page report in three volumes of the committee headed by NCP chief Sharad Pawar will be submitted after hearings spanning over five months.

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