The Kerala government on Tuesday banned the production and sale of soft drinks marketed by cola majors Coca-Cola and Pepsi in the state.
Karnataka too on Wednesday decided to ban the sale of 11 brands of soft drinks, including Pepsi and Coca-Cola, in educational institutions and hospitals from August 14 in the wake of an NGO's claim that the beverages contained high levels of pesticide residues.
The decision, taken by the Kerala Cabinet on the basis of a recommendation made by the ruling Left Democratic Front's state committee on August 6, put a question mark on the fate of the Coca-Cola plant at Plachimada and the Pepsi unit at Puthussery, both in Palakkad district.
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan told reporters after a meeting of his cabinet that the ban was imposed as many studies had stated these drinks contained elements hazardous to health.
The department of prevention of food adulteration had sent a serious report on this to the government. There were also court verdicts against cola companies, he said.
Alluding to the three-year struggle against the Coke plant at Plachimada, he said the people had been protesting against the soft drink majors for polluting the environment and over-exploiting groundwater resources.
Asked whether other products of the two companies would also be banned, he said, "A decision on them will naturally follow." Appropriate administrative and legal steps will be taken for the effective implementation of the ban, he said.
Meanwhile, Karnataka said that the sale of Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Mirinda, Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Blue, Fanta, Limca, Sprite, Thums Up, and 7UP will be banned within 100 metres of all schools, colleges and hospitals across the state. Karnataka Health Minister R Ashok and Primary and Secondary Education Minister Basavaraj Horatti said this at a press conference in Bangalore.
The state has sought the Centre's opinion on slapping a total ban on the sale of soft drinks, Ashok said. Junk foods like pizzas and burgers have also come under the government scanner, he said.
An analysis of the soft drinks at a laboratory indicated that they contained chemicals and pesticides -- including linadane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos -- in higher quantities than the stipulated norms, the ministers said.
Ashok said cases would be filed against the soft drink manufacturing firms under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.
There were reports that packaged drinking water of various brands too contained high levels of DDT and action will be initiated against the manufacturers, he said.