US embassy in India defends Coke, Pepsi

The United States embassy in India on Wednesday rushed to the aid of embattled beverage multinationals Coca Cola and Pepsi facing charges of selling pesticide-laced soft drinks in the country.

    An independent environment watchdog last week said its tests showed drinks sold by the Indian units of Coca-Cola and Pepsi contained "dangerously high levels" of toxic chemicals

    It said in a statement that the embassy was in "close contact" with both the companies and had been carefully following the discussion over the quality of drinks sold by them in India.

     

    Coca Cola and Pepsi are working intensively with the Indian Government to clarify these issues with the assistance of independent scientific experts and laboratories, the statement said.

      

    Both Coca Cola and Pepsi are confident that their products meet or exceed the highest national and international quality and safety standards, it added.

      

    Coca Cola and Pepsi are highly reputable and responsible firms with worldwide operations. They have repeatedly emphasized it is their top priority to provide the consumer with safe products, the embassy said.

     

    The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), an independent environment watchdog, last week said that its tests showed drinks sold by the Indian units of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, contained "dangerously high levels" of the toxic chemicals lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos.

      

    "Coca Cola and Pepsi are highly reputable and responsible firms with worldwide operations."

    -- US embassy in New Delhi

    The CSE accused both companies of using polluted water. Both the companies have denied the charges and questioned the manner in which the tests were conducted.

      

    Meanwhile, India's Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out a plea by Coca-Cola's Indian bottler for an independent evaluation of CSE's report.

      

    The three-judge bench refused to allow the plea by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages

    Private Limited and observed that people were free to choose what they wanted to drink or whether they wanted to drink at all.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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