Weak safeguard

New norms for water in soft drinks

Published: Friday 15 October 2004

The Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) has directed soft drink manufacturers in the country to use water that meets European standards from October 15, 2004. According to these norms, the residue of any pesticide per litre of water should not exceed 0.0001 milligramme per litre (mg/l). The total pesticide residue shouldn't exceed 0.0005 mg/l. Before the MoHFW's deadline, manufacturers have to recall from the market all samples of their products that don't meet these norms.

Most experts, however, point out that soft drinks can be made free of pesticides only by setting standards for the end product and not just the water used in them. The Joint Parliamentary Committee that reviewed the matter had also asked for stringent norms for pesticide residues in carbonated beverages (see Down To Earth, 'A lie is nailed', February 29, 2004). But the process of setting norms for the end product is being delayed (see Down To Earth, 'Fizzically Unfit', July 31, 2004).

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