Can’t convince? Confuse!
Cola majors resort to misinformation to counter the CSE report
New Delhi, August 17, 2003: From attacking CSE’s testing methodology; trying to pass off water tests instead of tests on the final product; using the WTO as a bogeyman; questioning the existence of laboratories in the country that can test their products; to even questioning the existence of standards elsewhere in the world. Pepsi and Coca-Cola are trying every trick in the corporate book to discredit concerns raised by the CSE report on pesticides in aerated drinks sold in India.
The mainstay of this strategy has been to discredit the methodologies of the CSE study. This is not the first time CSE has released such studies, however. CSE used similar methodology to test bottled water 6 months ago, following similar procedures, and the results were proven correct by government testing. The gas chromotographic technique used by the CSE laboratory is a sophisticated methodology that gives accurate results. A key criticism of the cola companies has been that the results were not confirmed using a mass spectrophotometer (a detector used with gas chromotograph). As a matter of fact, they were. This confirmatory test was carried out in an independent laboratory – which is why the results were not included in the CSE study. They will be made available to the government committee looking into the matter.
The two companies fault the CSE laboratory for ‘deviations’ from the testing methodology equipment operating parameters prescribed by the USEPA, such as the column used, the use of nitrogen instead of helium as the carrier gas, the temperature programme etc. To begin with, some of these allegations are simply not correct. They are an attempt to mislead by resorting to technical terms not easily understood by consumers. For instance, the companies have gone on record saying the method (UEPA 8141A) used by CSE is for water, not for soft drinks. In fact, as the title clearly shows, the method is to test Organophosphorus