Arjun has more updates from Kishore Asthana on Cola banning and CSE, the lab which did the tests. According to his analysis Colas are some of the safest things to drink in India compared to eggs, tea, rice, apples, milk, lassi and rabdi.
If someone tells you that if you drink one cup of tea, it will give you as much pesticide as 394 cups of cola, which one do you think would be the safer beverage? And are we focusing on tea? On eggs? On fruit or milk? No. CSE and our Parliament is busy trashing the drink which has the least amount of pesticide amongst all the things we consume. This is reason enough for us to put on our Sanity & Balance cape and jump into the fray.
To the best of our understanding, there are only about 20 laboratories accredited by the National Accreditation Board to undertake tests. The CSE Lab did not have this NAB accreditation three years back and does not appear to have it now. When we personally asked Ms. Sunita Narain about NAB accreditation after the NDTV program yesterday they tried to divert us by saying that they have ISO 9000 accreditation. Even a travel agency can get ISO 9000 accreditation and it does not qualify them as a certified laboratory.
Dr. Khandal, the highly reputed Director of the Sri Ram Laboratories has, in a TV interview categorically said that the equipment used at CSE cannot measure the level of Malathion which CSE claims to have measured with it. He also said that these results had not been re-validated by doing other tests, as was the norm. As such, the tests were not to be taken at face value.
Dr. Khandal then said that CSE have mentioned that they have used U.S. EPA protocols to test Colas. He pointed out that EPA has no protocols for Colas. They only have a protocol to test water. He said that if CSE has used this protocol to measure the pesticides in Colas then it is erronious, as the matrix of the test sample changes with the addition of the other ingredients and the protocol for testing water cannot be used for testing Colas
In an NDTV program yesterday, Ms. Narain said that the sample size of foreign Colas tested by CSE was just 2 bottles. As the scientists on the panel pointed out, on this basis she is not really qualified to make any comments at all about pesticides in foreign Colas vis a vis Indian Colas. Any good High School science student can tell you that the sample of two bottles is not a meaningful sample size, but CSE has no hesitation in announcing their comparison based on an analysis of a mere two bottles. [Cola Con]
See Also: Where do the pesticides come from?