The Pesticide Connection

Posted on August 11, 2006. Filed under: India, Thoughts |

Yet again, it happens. Soft drink makers pepsi and coke are under the scanner for the alleged high level of pesticides in their products. And this is not the first time. About a year back, this issue raised its ugly head after a government body performed tests and determined very high level of certain toxic substances in the soft drinks. And as it happens in india, it was in the news for about a week, and then faded away. The point here isnt if the govt body was right or wrong. The point is why does is keep happening again and again?

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to the question. Both the govt and the companies battle it out with the help of the media, while the consumer is left in the dark. Allegations, court notices, media wars and heated discussions go on.. But the main question remains unanswered – Are the soft drinks fit for consumption? Its the only thing we people are interested in, and no one seems to bother that human lives are at stake here (well, thats nothing new in india actually. And this probably is the last thing on the minds of the companies and the government)

I would blame the weak minded government first. They simply cannot put down their feet and ask the companies to stop this nonsense. Imagine what would have happened if this was the US. The company will have to suffer heavy damages amounting to millions (even billions if the case is severe). Their plants will be under the scanner all the time by regulation authorities. And never again will they dream of commiting the same mistake, even if it was an accident. But this is india, and they know that nothing of that sort will happen. They will buy their way out with the help of corrupt politicians. And the consumers will just forget the whole episode after a month or so..

My take is pretty straightforward and even maybe partial – Ban the damn companies from manufacturing and distributing the drinks until they can prove that everything is fine with them. Let them take this issue seriously. They SHOULD NOT be allowed to treat india as a third world nation, where they can do anything they want and still get away with it. And let this point enter their thick heads – Indian consumers cannot be taken for granted. If you have a standard for the US and UK, follow the bloody thing here too. Else just get the F**k OFF!!! And to the consumers – stop drinking soft drinks! Let the company be held responsible for all this, and not our stupid behaviour.

I know this isnt going to happen, but couldnt help thinking how india would be if all this does happen.


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The basic issue is that public memory is short and the media does not follow through an issue to its logical end. That is why the problem never gets solved- Kabhi Alvida na kehnaa- the movie I just saw. click on the review of interested. It shows the pesticides in a marriage.

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