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Coca-Cola questions CSE's tests

August 12, 2006 20:01 IST
In the dock over pesticides-in-cola controversy, Coca-Cola on Saturday questioned the credibility of the tests carried out by NGO Centre for Science and Environment, which claimed that soft drink products in India contained high levels of pesticides.

"The CSE is not an accredited laboratory," Coca-Cola India vice president (technical) Asim Parekh said. He said so far no "fixed standards" had been set up for such kind of tests.

Last week, the CSE claimed that tests conducted on more than 50 samples of soft drinks sold by Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo India contained high levels of pesticide residues.

However, Parekh said that his company would welcome and support any move to set up standards. "We just want that there must be a scientific basis behind the standard....We are willing to work with the government," he said.

"It is an issue that concerns science and we should let the scientific community decide about the methodology for conducting tests," Parekh said.

He, however, remained evasive when asked to react on the ban imposed on Coke and Pepsi by the Kerala government saying that we would not like to react on media reports.

"Till last evening, we have not received any intimation about the reported ban on coke... And we will not comment on media reports," he said.

Terming the pesticide controversy as "unwarranted and disruptive", Parekh said that it had caused unnecessary panic among the public.

"We have the same uncompromising commitment to product safety and quality in our beverages in India that we offer around the world," he said.

"Our soft drinks have been regularly tested and evaluated by the Central Science Laboratory, a UK government laboratory, and all tests show that the soft drinks are below the EU criteria for pesticide residues in bottled water," he claimed.

On being questioned over the effect of the controversy on its sales, he said that it was too early to comment on that.

"It is off season for cold drinks... Our peak season is between March and July and further we don't keep track of the monthly sales figures," he said.

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