Expectedly, Federal Health Minister Anbumani Ramdoss absolved the cola companies
in the Lok Sabha that pesticide levels in their products were “within the permissible levels” and called an independent report “inconclusive.” Casting aspersions on the non-government organization (NGO) Center for Science and Environment (CSE), Ramdoss said that the NGO’s report “did not provide conclusive evidence for presence of different pesticides in the concentration reported.”
Claiming that his Ministry had collected “A total of 213 numbers of samples have been lifted from 14 States and dispatched for testing,” Ramdoss said that “The testing reports have been received from Gujarat” where “out of 28 samples” he says “none of the samples has shown any presence of any of the pesticides.”
Ramdoss repeated the line of the cola companies that a comprehensive law is required to regulate carbonated drinks and junk food. He promised that his Ministry will bring such a standard by January 2007. Several Members of Parliament (MPs) accused Ramdoss of being “confused” on the issue—a euphemism for not understating the issue.
The Health Minister has not addressed the fundamental issues of food safety. He also has not answered why a Joint Parliamentary Committee recommendation was withheld abruptly.