Panel on soft drinks will be re-constituted, apex court told (Lead)

February 8th, 2011 - 5:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) The Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSA) Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it will re-constitute the experts’ panel of scientists to find out the harmful effects of chemicals used in carbonated soft drinks.The existing experts committee had people associated with soft drink chains, which compromised its independent nature and drew adverse comment from the apex court.

The court will also be informed about the studies carried out on the chemical content of soft drinks and their harmful effects on the consumers, the FSSA said.

The Supreme Court earlier in the day observed that the experts’ panel to frame guidelines on what ingredients could be used in food products was set up contravening the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act.

An apex court bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice A.K. Ganguly had said: “Experts’ panel is prima facie violative of the Food Safety Act.”

The court observed that Section 13 (I) of the act categorically provides for an independent experts panel under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

It said the presence on the panel of people associated with the food industry and soft drinks chains was contrary to the statutory provisions.

The court observation came in the course of the hearing of a petition that has sought disclosure of ingredients being used in edible products and soft drinks and the harmful effects on the consumers.

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