Bitterness over diet colas

Published: Sunday 15 January 1995

-- (Credit: Arvind Yadav / CSE)The competition between international cola giants in India may well lead to the introduction of diet colas that contain sweeteners banned by the Union health ministry under the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) laws.

The existing food additive law prescribed by the Central Committee on Food Standards and the PFA ban use of Aspartame (APM) and Acesulfame K (ASK) used internationally in diet colas. The Indian laws permit the use of only saccharine as a sweetener and lay down that APM and ASK are known to be unstable in glass bottles under tropical conditions.

But an executive with Pepsi says, "We are all set for an early launch (of diet colas). The mood is upbeat as the Pepsi top brass is expecting relaxation in the rules as the additives are accepted all over the world."

Health ministry officials, however, contend that specific data about the health effect of the 2 additives, especially on pregnant women, is not fully established.

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