MYTHS & FACTS

Since August 5, 2003 the quality and safety of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products in India have been called into question by a local NGO, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The basis of the allegations are tests conducted on products of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo by CSE’s internal unaccredited laboratory, the Pollution Monitoring Laboratory.

In India, as in the rest of the world, our plants use a multiple barrier system to remove potential contaminants and unwanted natural substances including iron, sulfur, heavy metals as well as pesticides. Our products in India are safe and are tested regularly to ensure that they meet the same rigorous standards we maintain across the world.

The result of these allegations has been consumer confusion, significant impact on the sale of a safe and high-quality product, and the erosion of international investor confidence in the Indian business sector.

This situation calls for the development of national sampling and testing protocols for soft drinks, an end to sensationalizing unsubstantiated allegations, and co-operation by all parties concerned in the interests of both Indian consumers and companies with significant investments in the Indian economy.

The facts versus the fiction False statements made in recent weeks have led to false perceptions by Indian consumers:


Myth Coca-Cola products in India contain pesticide residues that are above EU norms.
Fact Throughout all of our operations in India, stringent quality monitoring takes place covering both the source water we use as well as our finished product. We test for traces of pesticide in groundwater to the level of parts per billion. This is equivalent to one drop in a billion drops. For comparison’s sake, this would also be equivalent to measuring one second in 32 years, or less than one person in the entire population in India. These tests require specialized equipment at accredited labs to have accurate results. Even at these stringent miniscule levels we are well within the internationally accepted safety norms.
   
MythCoca-Cola products sold in India are "toxic" and unfit for human consumption.
Fact There is no contamination or toxicity in our beverage brands. Our high-quality beverages are – and have always been - safe and refreshing. In over 200 countries across the globe, more than a billion times every day, consumers choose our brands for refreshment because Coca-Cola is a symbol of quality.
  
Myth Coca-Cola has dual standards in the production of its products, one high standard for western countries, another for India.
Fact The soft drinks manufactured in India conform to the same high standards of quality as in the USA and Europe. Through our globally accepted and validated manufacturing processes and Quality Management systems, we ensure that our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities are equipped to provide the consumer the highest quality beverage each time. We stringently test our soft drinks in India at independent, accredited and world-class laboratories both locally and internationally.
  
MythIn India the soft drinks industry is virtually unregulated.
Fact There are no standards for soft drinks in the US, the EU, or India. In India, water used for beverage manufacture must conform to drinking water standards. The water used by Coca-Cola conforms to both BIS and EU standards for drinking water and our production protocols ensure this through a focus on process control and testing of the water used in our manufacturing process and the final product quality.
  
MythCoca-Cola has put out results for Kinley water only and not for their soft drinks.
Fact The results of product tests conducted by TNO Nutrition and Food Research Laboratory in the Netherlands is conclusive and is available on The Science Behind Our Quality web page.
   
Myth International companies like Coca-Cola are “colonizing” India.
Fact The Coca-Cola business in India is a local business. Our beverages in India are produced locally, we employ thousands of Indian citizens, our product range and marketing reflect Indian tastes and lifestyles, and we are deeply involved in the life of the local communities in which we operate. The Coca-Cola business system directly employs approximately 10,000 local people in India. In addition, independent studies have documented that, by providing opportunities for local enterprises, the Coca-Cola business also generates a significant employment “multiplier effect.” In India, we indirectly create employment for more than 125,000 people in related industries through our vast procurement, supply and distribution system. 
  
MythFarmers in India are using Coca-Cola and other soft drinks as pesticides by spraying them on their crops .
FactSoft drinks do not act in a similar way to pesticides when applied to the ground or crops. There is no scientific basis for this and the use of soft drinks for this purpose would be totally ineffective.

In India, as in the rest of the world, our products are world class and safe and the treated water used to make our beverages there meets the highest international standards.

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