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Indian Government Casts Doubt on Cola Pesticide Charges

India's Health Ministry has cast doubt on a study by an environmental group that showed that soft drinks produced locally by two U.S. giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola contained high levels of pesticides.

A committee appointed by the ministry said the residue data reported by the New Delhi-based Center for Science and Environment, or CSE, failed to prove its claims. It also said the group's sampling methods lacked a scientific and statistically valid basis.

The CSE has slammed the committee's findings, saying it should not rely on data provided by the two companies.

The study by the CSE sparked an uproar and triggered a ban in six Indian states on the sale of beverages locally produced by the two companies.

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola say their soft drinks manufactured in India comply with stringent international and national standards.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.