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SC reserves order on plea against soft drinks

New Delhi, Dec 13 (PTI) The Supreme Court today reserved its order on a plea for setting up a committee to evaluate the alleged harmful effects of soft drinks on human health and to properly label the beverages, detailing their ingredients. A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra reserved its order after a detailed hearing on the Public Interest Litigation petition, filed in 2004. The plea alleged the ingredients of carbonated drinks have “serious deleterious effects on human health” and no action has been taken to test and assess the risk posed by such beverages. Soft drink major Pepsi, however, opposed the PIL with its counsel senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi arguing that the Food Safety and Standards Act aimed at regulating the standards of beverages was “sufficient” and all the regulations were in place. The Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), in its petition filed in 2004, had also sought directions to the cola firms to disclose the contents/ ingredients on the label of their bottles and to regulate “misleading” advertisements targeting children. Earlier on November 23 the apex court had asked the the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to file “records” relating to proceedings of its panels, formed following a judicial order on the PIL filed by the NGO. The court\’s direction came after Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO CPIL, alleged that instead of an expert panel, another FSSAI panel on labelling and claims/ advertisement should consider the grievance of additives in carbonated drinks. The apex court, on February 8, 2011, had asked FSSAI to reconstitute independent scientific panels to look into the harmful effects of chemicals in carbonated beverages. (More) PTI AAC RKS.

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