India's government ordered tests to be conducted on soft drinks that reportedly showed very high levels of contaminants due to the water that was used to make them. The tests revealed that levels of pesticides in the soft drinks were "well within the prescribed standards for bottled water 'at present,'" officials reported.
A statement by Sushma Swaraj, India's minister of health and family welfare, revealed that although pesticide levels were higher than companies such as PepsiCo. or Coca-Cola had thought, only seven soft drinks – not 12 – contained pesticides, according to the Health Ministry's report. Levels were reportedly lower or there was none at all compared to what was stated previously, reported an article in the Atlanta Journal Consitution.
Swaraj said that levels were within current Indian limits, however, new standards were being evaluated. The levels exceeded European Union and the United States' standards.
The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) conducted a study that reported very high levels of pesticides in soft drinks such as Pepsi and Coke. In the center's study, each drink was tested for common insecticides including 16 organochlorine pesticides, 12 organophosphorus pesticides and 4 synthetic pyrethroides.
CSE Director Sunita Narain, however, welcomed Swaraj's statement that government may consider applying European Union norms for water used in soft drinks, reported the Central Chronicle.
In India, the cold drinks industry virtually is unregulated. Pesticides are among many contaminants that go unregulated. Standards for other substances such as arsenic or lead also are many times above the guidelines for drinking water issued by the ministry of urban development.
In India, ground water is not regulated. Contaminants exist without a company being at fault for not purifying its water first. In the United States, laws are in place to regulate the quality of water not only used in bottling but also for the manufacturing of cold drinks. U.S. laws require water used for making beverages to be of the same quality as bottled water, which is a highly regulated food product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition, the Safe Drinking Water Act further protects consumers from poor water quality.
Water Quality Products, Atlanta Journal Consitution and Central Chronicle