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Coca-Cola banned at UK university as awareness of pesticide content spreads

Monday, August 21, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: Coca-Cola, soft drinks, public health

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(NewsTarget) The U.K. Students Against Coca-Cola group called for a nationwide student boycott of Coca-Cola in Britain Saturday, according to the Independent. The University of Sussex is the first to adopt the ban.

Other British campuses are expected to implement the ban soon. Students Against Coca-Cola has been pressuring the purchasing consortium that supplies Coca-Cola products to campuses to terminate its multimillion-dollar contracts with the company.

The University of Sussex banned all Coca-Cola products from its student union, citing objection to the soft drink giant's business practices, such as ignoring anti-union abuses of workers in its factories in Colombia and other South American countries. The protestors also expressed concerns over the health hazards presented by the high levels of pesticides in the sodas, which prompted several Indian states to ban Coca-Cola and its number one competitor, PepsiCo.

The bans in India were implemented when a Center for Science and Environment study found that the companies' sodas contained 24-times the accepted levels of pesticides. The student protesters also claim that the Coca-Cola's bottling plants have adversely affected local water tables and farmers' livelihoods.

The two major Indian business groups -- the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) -- disagree, and both entities have warned that a ban on Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products could end up hurting India's broader economy.

Coca-Cola has not yet responded to the boycott or the ban at the University of Sussex.

"The number of institutions banning Coca-Cola continues to increase," said Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and author of a book on quitting soft drink addictions. "Awareness about the unscrupulous practices of the Coca-Cola company appears to be approaching a critical mass, and pro-business groups around the world are currently scrambling to contain the damage and spin the story in a way that maximizes Coca-Cola profits," he said.


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