The study was conducted by the Indian Institute of Hygiene and Public Health on DTAB’s recommendation. The latter had reportedly found heavy metals, including antimony, lead, chromium and cadmium and Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, in the soft drink majors’ PET bottles.
However, a senior official with the health ministry, when contacted, said that the veracity of the test reports was questionable and that it was decided that the tests would be conducted in other National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL)-accredited laboratories to verify the findings.
Coca-Cola stated, “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. We would like to reiterate that all our products, including those referred in this report, are absolutely safe and well within the safety norms prescribed, including those for heavy metals, by the Indian regulatory bodies.”
Regarding PET packaging, the company added that it was safely used around the world in similar and more extreme weather conditions without any food safety issue. “We will be able to comment in details once we receive the said report,” it said.
PepsiCo also stated that they hadn’t got any intimation or copy of the test reports, and without an understanding of the methodology used, they would be unable to comment on the reports.
Meanwhile, according to reports, DTAB initiated a study into the safety of the cold drinks or aerated drinks manufactured by PepsiCo and Coca-Cola for five toxins, of which four were heavy metals (antimony, lead, chromium and cadmium). The fifth was the compound Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP).
It allegedly found that these toxins leached into five cold drink samples picked up for the study including Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, Sprite and 7Up, from the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles they were in.