I had already blogged about how Coca-Cola had lost its loving feeling earlier this year, but I didn’t expect there to be a backlash that goes beyond the sort that Naomi Klein might tackle. There are now Indian states that have banned Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola, either from locations near educational institutions, or across the entire state, wholesale.
In Kerala, government ofﬁcials have banned cola manufacturing altogether.
As explained by Times Now.tv:
These bans come in the wake of CSE [Center for Science and Environment] ﬁndings that on an average, they contained pesticides 24 times higher than the standards set by BIS [Bureau of Indian Standards]. The CSE ﬁndings indicate that the levels of pesticide in samples of Pepsi produced in the Bangalore plant exceeded the BIS standards by 23.2 times.
The levels could lead to cancer, according to the government departments.
The health minister of India does not believe state governments have the authority to enact these bans, and the matter is before the food and drugs’ commissioner there, according to The Times of India.
It is not the ﬁrst time the cola manufacturers have been banned—the same thing happened in 1977. Coca-Cola re-entered in 1993. The articles I have read so far in the Indian press do not indicate if Coke wishes to ﬁght the claims and defend its brand.
We already have the problem of Mexican Coca-Cola tasting better than the American variety because of the sugar used, and now pesticides?
Coke should present its own take on the pesticides and be serious about it. If they’re there, then the obvious consumer demand would be that they are removed.
It’s not just addressing Indian consumer concerns and keeping its bottlers in business there. With a globalized world, stories like this travel fast—and I am now curious to know if pesticides are used in any other country’s Coca-Cola.
This is another side of branding: if your brand is so strong, you risk bad news travelling faster, to all your markets. For Coke’s own sake, I hope we hear its answer soon. Posted by Jack Yan, 15:25
"This is another side of branding: if your brand is so strong, you risk bad news travelling faster, to all your markets."
Very true Jack! I think the stronger the brand, the more polarized the reaction from the public, either they love the brand, or hate it. And the 'haters' will be more than happy to quickly spread news of said brand stubbing their toes.
This is nothing more than a political ploy Jack. It's always very easy to target Coca-Cola and Pepsi (as they are the cult brands of America) to express anti-Americanism - as it has happened in India several times before. In 1977, when Coke was banned, it was done by the then anti-American govenrmnt of India - like they did it in Iran now - (and the Industry Minister who masterminded it is now confronting a series of corruption charges against him - not related to Coke, however !)
The amount of pesticides found in the bottles of Coke and Pepsi is rediculously negligible if compared to the amount of more dangerous chemicals we, the Indians, take in everyday with the vegetables, livestock and even with the drinking water.
BIS is yet to officially standardize these chemicals used in the consumable products. CSE (the New Delhi based NGO perhaps run more by the political people as it seems and they are better known for their attacks against the Coke and Pepsi) has compared the amount with the American standard.
By the way I fully coincide with what Mack said.
Okay now I'm scared. You know I love that Coke stuff. Now I'm hearing that it's chock full of PESTICIDES?? What on Earth for??
Here is another one from The Guardian, about farmers spraying their crops with Coke to kill bugs.Post a Comment
Rohan, what you say makes a great deal more sense about what is happening there. I am still searching Google for the soft drink manufacturer’s response though: I am surprised to not ﬁnd anything.
Thank you, Mack, for your words—and I totally agree. This is why I am disturbed that I can’t ﬁnd any statement from Coca-Cola India or from Atlanta. I can only ﬁnd one article about the response: more advertising.
Nicole, I never drink this stuff anyway, so I know we can be cola-free! But I’m sorry to hear about your situation …
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