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Published reports say that Kerala, a southern Indian state, has today banned the sale and manufacture of all soft drinks made by the Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, basing the ban on reports of high levels of pesticide residue in these products.

Four other Indian states have banned the sale of Coke and Pepsi products in schools and government offices, but this is the first total ban on sales and production of Coke and Pepsi soft drinks.

The ban follows a report issued about a week ago by the non-governmental Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) saying that testing has revealed that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products are showing 30 times more pesticides than was found in a previous study three years ago. “Soft drinks are completely safe,” the Indian Soft Drink Manufacturers Association (ISDMA) replied in a statement disputing the findings. “The soft drinks manufactured in India comply with stringent international norms and all applicable national regulations.”

Coke and Pepsi already have been ordered by India’s highest court to make public the chemical compositions of their soft drinks – including the secret formula for Coke that has been secret for more than a century.
Local analysts say that if the companies don’t comply with the order, they could be banned from selling product in India, one of the world’s fastest growing consumer cultures.
KC's View:
We don’t want to overreact to this, but this report makes us wonder if the Indian situation is symptomatic a new reality that American companies will have to deal with – that we live in a world where being American may actually be a hindrance, where the values that America represents – whether they be capitalism or just the refreshing nature of fizzy soft drinks – are seen as undesirable.

We saw Newt Gingrich recently on “Meet The Press,” and he spoke about the global situation in terms that you know presage his campaign speech as he looks to get the Republican presidential nomination. “World War III has begun,” he said, suggesting that all the various outbreaks around the world – almost all of them with the US as the ultimate target – add up to a broader threat that must be addressed in a way not yet even being considered.

Again, not to overreact, but we wonder if the problems being faced by Coke and Pepsi in India are part of a broader cultural war that the US is going to be fighting with increasing regularity for years to come.