Major Cola manufacturers Pepsico and CocaCola on October 6 refuted allegations that there is any presence of heavy metals in their PET bottles and said that they have received no such reports from the government.
According to recent news reports, the Indian government in a study found five different kinds of toxins in soft drinks PET bottles of multinational companies like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.
The reports claimed that these tests were conducted by the Health Ministry of India and said that the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) had confirmed the presence of traces of five heavy metals in the bottles.
These heavy metals included antimony, lead, chromium and cadmium as well as the compound DEHP, or Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, being found in the samples.
Representational Image. WSJ
These tests were conducted on five cold drink samples – Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, Sprite and 7Up which were collected by the DTAB for the study.
Out of these five cold drink samples, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and 7Up are owned by PepsiCo, while Coca-Cola and Sprite are owned by Coca-Cola. But both these companies are now refuting
these allegations and said that there have received no reports of any such tests being conducted.
“We have received no intimation nor a copy of the cited test reports and without an understanding of the methodology used, would be unable to comment on the reports.” – PepsiCo India.
Further, both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola claim that they only found out about these test via news reports…
“We have not received any communication or notice from any of the concerned government departments pertaining to testing of our products and have learnt about the subject only through the said newspaper report.” – CocaCola India
PepsiCo though went on to assure people of the safety of their PET bottles and said…
“We would like to emphatically reiterate that our products comply with the permissible limits for heavy metals as laid down by the food safety and standards regulations in India” – PepsiCo India
It must be noted that as per the DTAB website, there are no such “permissible limits” for heavy metals in cold drinks.
News reports have claimed that these Tests found 0.029 milligrams per litre (mg/L), 0.011 mg/L, 0.002 mg/L, 0.017 mg/L and 0.028 mg/L of antimony, lead, cadmium, chromium, and DEHP, respectively, in Pepsi and its products. While they found 0.006 mg/L, 0.009 mg/L, 0.011 mg/L, 0.026 mg/L and 0.026 mg/L of these heavy metals in Coca -Cola and Sprite samples.
Further, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorised lead and cadmium of any amount as “major public health concern” as it can have severe effects on children and adults and can cause renal diseases.