Thursday, February 05, 2004

Set Norms As Per Indian Conditions: JPC Report

Our Marketing Bureau

New Delhi, Feb 4 The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) report on soft drinks, which was presented in Parliament on Wednesday has rejected adoption of European Union (EU) norms and has instead suggested ‘setting up of standards which are best suited for the Indian conditions in the overall perspective of public health.’

The report reasons that the EU norms were not based on any toxicological criteria or any realistic basis, but were a surrogate for zero. “Moreover these norms are often used as non-tariff barriers by the European countries against the developing nations, to protect their agriculture, trade and industry,” the report notes.

“The Committee, therefore, recommends that India should formulate its own food standards, which are based on scientific criteria, protects the interest and health of its people and are in keeping with the internationally accepted norms,” suggests the report which has also concluded that Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) findings on the presence of pesticides in soft drinks was correct. “CSE findings are correct on the presence of pesticide residues in soft drinks in respect of three samples each of 12 brand products of PepsiCo and Coca-Cola analysed by them.....(we) would conclude that CSE stands corroborated on its finding pesticide residues in carbonated water.”

Reacting to the JPC report, CSE director Sunita Narain said, “this is a vindication of our stand. We are delighted. The JPC has gone much beyond the pesticide issue and has critique the existing regulatory framework for food safety as well.”

In a brief statement, Coca-Cola India (CCI), echoed similar view, “our products manufactured in India are world class and safe. We follow one quality system across the world. Our products already meet the science-based norms recommended by JPC and all our consumers can have full confidence in the safety of our products. We look forward to the government finalising the science based Indian norms.”

In a statement issued here, Pepsi Cola India said, “we are reviewing the JPC report. We share the government’s interest in protecting the health of Indian consumers, which is why we have always produced beverages in India that are absolutely safe and and made according to the same high quality standards we use around the world. We are confident that with continued collaboration between government, industry and the scientific community, the health and safety of Indian consumers can be ensured by establishing scientific, health-based safety standards that are consistent with internationally accepted norms.”


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