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Beverages

Pro-industry food safety and standards bill does not address safety concerns

Issue Date: Jun 30, 2006
This is for all those who have switched from normal home-cooked food to takeaways. Rajma-chawal and dal-bhaat , or even the occasional pasta bake, have the right ingredients. Pizzas don't. And pizzas cost more. The point is all about what's happening to our consumption habits.

Fat Chance

Issue Date: May 15, 2004
On May 18, 2004, when governments of 192 World Health Organization (WHO) member countries gather at Geneva for the world health assembly, one Mrs Sharma in one town, Jabalpur perhaps, will be making her way purposefully to the new swanky fast food joint in Sadar Bazar.

Pesticides in our food

Issue Date: Dec 31, 2003
There is never any end to learning. And so, surprises. We have learnt, over 20 years, that environmental governance in India is lackadaisical. Still, the extent of irresponsibility never fails to surprise.

COLANISATION'S DIRTY DOZEN

Issue Date: Aug 15, 2003
The Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) places in the public domain its analysis of the contents of 12 cold drink brands sold in Delhi. Three bottles of each of the 12 brands were purchased from markets across the city and analysed to see if they contained pesticides.

“Reddy” remedies

Satwant Reddy committee: Report of the committee on the pesticide residue in packaged drinking water and packaged natural mineral water, March 25, 2003 • Setting standards • BIS should have a core group of scientists from various fields to keep track of recent scientific and technical developments in critical areas.

Notified, at last

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Notification, July 18, 2003 Prevention of Food Adulteration (1st Amendment) Rules, 2003 • Pesticide residues considered individually — not more than 0.0001 mg/litre (The analysis shall be conducted by using Internationally established test methods meeting the residue limits specified herein) • Total pesticide residues — not more than 0.0005 mg/litre (The analysis shall be conducted by using internationally established test methods meeting the residue limits specified herein)

Divert, deny, dismiss and damn

Issue Date: Sep 15, 2006
What a line of attack! PepsiCo, in its advertisements to deny that it had pesticides in its drinks, said that there were more pesticides in tea, eggs, rice and apples. Coca-Cola, in its defence, has similarly argued that as everything in India is contaminated, its drinks are safe. They say this is being done to target them, because they are big brands and us multinationals. On the other hand, the pesticide industry, in its public response, wants the focus not to be on pesticides but on heavy metals and other contaminants.

Sweetly worked

Issue Date: Oct 31, 2004
a low-calorie sugar substitute, neotame, is awaiting clearance from the Union ministry of health and family welfare (mohfw) to enter India. The Coca Cola Company and NutraSweet Company, which holds the patent for neotame, have written to mohfw seeking approval for the sweetener. Little is known about how safe the product is that Coca Cola wants to use in its soft drinks.

Killer disease

Issue Date: May 15, 2004
Obesity has become a worldwide concern because people in each and every nation are falling prey to it. WHO defines obesity as a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 kg/m2 and overweight as a BMI of at least 25 kg/m2 (BMI is calculated by weight in kg divided by the square of a person's height in metre). Around one billion adults in the world are overweight and around 300 million of them are obese.
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