Special Correspondent

Public policy is being compromised, says Narain

  • Ministry panel report based on views of company's scientists flown in from London
  • Detailed rebuttal of committee report sent to Ministry

    NEW DELHI: Protesting the "double standards" of the soft drinks industry and the inordinate delays in setting norms, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has rejected an offer of a meeting extended by Coca-Cola. On August 16, Coca-Cola had invited the CSE for a meeting to discuss the issue of pesticide residue in its products.

    The CSE had, initially, agreed to the meeting but on the condition that the agenda be confined to regulations.

    Clarifying the CSE's position, its director Sunita Narain said: "Our initial response of acceptance to the meeting was in good faith, believing that the company was genuinely interested in a dialogue on how the process of regulation and standard setting would move forward. But recent events since then make it clear that public policy is being compromised and, therefore, we cannot see the purpose of a meeting between Coca-Cola and us." In its letter to the CEO of Coca-Cola India, CSE has explained why it believes public policy has been compromised. The report of the committee of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry was "based verbatim on the comments of the scientists that [the] company had flown down from London."