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Fact-Check: Does This Chart Show Percentage of Pesticides Found in Cold Drinks?

CSE study has found small percentages of pesticides in soft drinks, but the figures in the viral image are inflated.

Updated
WebQoof
3 min read
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A graphic showing percentage of pesticides in various soft drinks sold in India is going viral on social media.

The image also claims that this data has been allegedly sourced from the Indian Medical Association (IMA). 

According to the graphic, the top three drink are Fanta with the highest percentage of pesticides of 29.1 percent, followed by Frooti with 24.5 percent and Mirinda with 20.7 percent.

CSE study has found small percentages of pesticides in soft drinks, but the figures in the viral image are inflated.

An archive can be seen here.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

(Archives of similar claims can be seen here and here.)

The truth: This data is misleading and IMA has not released any such data about pesticides in cold drinks.

  • A similar study was conducted by Center for Science and Environment (CSE) in 2003, concluding some pesticide residues in cold drinks in India.

  • However, this data does not match with the data seen in the viral image.

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How did we find out the truth?: We did not find any such study released by IMA about presence of pesticides in cold drinks.

  • By performing a relevant keyword search, we came across a 2003 study by the Center for Science and Environment (CSE) in India which analyzed the pesticide residues in soft drinks.

  • CSE is a public interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi.

  • According to this study, Mirinda topped list of cold drinks with the highest percentage of pesticide residues while Sprite had the lowest percentage.

CSE study has found small percentages of pesticides in soft drinks, but the figures in the viral image are inflated.

This data can be seen here. 

(Source: CSE/ Screenshot)

  • The list of percentages of pesticide residues found in soft drinks was noted as Mirinda (0.0035 percent), Coca Cola (0.0022 percent), Fanta (0.0021 percent), Mirinda orange flavor (0.0019 percent), Pepsi (0.0018 percent), 7-Up (0.0016 percent), Lima (0.0014 percent), Blue Pepsi (0.0014 percent), Mountain Dew (0.0014 percent), Thumbs Up (0.0011 percent), Diet Pepsi (0.0007 percent) and Sprite (0.0005 percent).

  • The highest percentage was recorded at 0.0035 percent in this data, whereas, the starting percentage seen in the viral image was 29.1 percent.

  • The research also included an average of pesticide residues found in different brands of soft drink samples.

CSE study has found small percentages of pesticides in soft drinks, but the figures in the viral image are inflated.

These are the findings of CSE study. 

(Source: CSE/ Screenshot)

  • In 2004, a Joint Committee was placed with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar as the Chairman.

  • The committee concluded that the CSE findings are correct on the presence of pesticide residues in 12 different soft drinks.

CSE study has found small percentages of pesticides in soft drinks, but the figures in the viral image are inflated.

The committee also agreed with the findings. 

(Source: CSE/ Screenshot)

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We have reached out to IMA for their inputs on this claim, the story will be update once we receive a response.

Conclusion: The viral claim about IMA releasing data showing the percentage of pesticides in cold drinks is misleading.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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Topics:  Fact Check   Cold Drinks   pesticides 

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