Coke's multiple fractures

Ban on soft drinks in US schools; Kerala plant closed

Published: Thursday 15 September 2005

the American Beverage Association (aba), a trade body, has decided to ban the sale of soft drinks in elementary and middle schools of the us. aba recently said its members will only stock bottled water and 100 per cent juice in elementary schools and will provide "only nutritious and/or lower calorie beverages in middle schools". The move seeks to address growing concerns about obesity among children in the country.

"No full-calorie soft drinks and no full-calorie juice drinks with five per cent fruit juice or less will be on sale during school hours" in middle schools. But the rules for high schools are less stringent: "no more than 50 per cent soft drinks" will be supplied there. Soft drinks majors Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Cadbury Schwepps have reportedly agreed to the move. "Our new all about variety, nutrition and lower calorie beverages," said aba.

In another blow to Coca-Cola, on August 19, the Kerala Pollution Control Board (kpcb) ordered Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Limited to shut down its operational bottling plant in Palakkad district with immediate effect. The step was taken because the plant failed to comply with pollution regulations, says kpcb chairperson G Rajmohan. He adds that the company had failed to provide drinking water in a satisfying manner to local residents and had also not disclosed the cadmium content in the waste generated by the said plant. About a month ago, the board had issued a show cause notice to the company and subsequently given them a personal hearing. "The plant failed to set up a reverse osmosis unit or a similar facility to treat waste generated from the processes," says Rajmohan, adding that the decision has been taken after carefully examining all the issues.

Coca-Cola's Plachimada plant is also non-functional for nearly two years. A recent Kerala High Court order allowing it to resume production has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

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