No, the values don’t show the pesticide percentage in drinks released by the IMA!

IMA didn't release any such data of soft drinks pesticide percentage.

Claim

Oh my goodness…

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Explanation

The shared image displays the percentage of pesticides found in drinks that the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has disclosed. The drinks—Thums Up, Coke, 7 Up, Mirinda, Pepsi, Fanta, Sprite, Vodka, Gin, Rum, Whiskey, and Beer—as well as their corresponding percentages, are presented in the image. It’s interesting to note that the percentage value for all alcoholic beverages is 0%. Come, let’s check if the viral claims are true.

What’s the truth?

We started our analysis with a relevant keyword search on Google which clarified that IMA did not release any such report. We searched further to know if the beverages contain pesticides in it and this led us to some articles. We got our hands on the research paper published in 2003 titled “Analysis of Pesticide Residues in Soft Drinks.” As per the research, “A total of 36 soft drinks samples of 12 brands (3 each- different batches) were tested for 16 organochlorine pesticides, 12 organophosphorus and 4 pyrethroids pesticides most commonly used in India.” We got a bar graph-like image showing the proper residue numbers.

The paper went on to add that, “The range of concentration of total pesticides (organochlorines and organophosphorus) pesticides in the 12 brands varied from 0.0055-0.0352 mg/L. The minimum value of 0.0055 mg/L was detected in Sprite which is 11 times higher than the EEC limit and the maximum value was detected in Mirinda lemon-0.0352 mg/ which is 75 times higher than the total EEC limit of 0.0005 mg/L.”

The paper also added that the variations across brands may be caused by the composition, pH, and/or different components used in each brand with the help of a table.

The report of the Centre for Science and Environment dated 2017 was captioned “Analysis of pesticide residues in soft drinks-2003.” The release of the PML study on pesticide residues in bottled water revealed that practically all brands contained various pesticide residues, the article claims.

We then conducted additional research to look into the pesticide residues in alcoholic beverages like beer and wine. We discovered a spex.com article on this.

According to another report, “The wine and wine grapes showed one consistent pesticide residue (Imidacloprid) up to 3 ppm in the finished wine. The wine grapes only showed a detectable pesticide residue level in samples that were mechanically shaken versus hand-shaken.”

Similarly, India Today also wrote about this topic; you can read that piece here.

The aforementioned data both explains and validates the falsehood of the widely circulated image that purports to indicate the percentage of pesticides in beverages. Though some tests revealed the existence of pesticides in almost all the listed beverages including the ones claimed to have 0% pesticides in it, we found that the amount is minimal when compared to the numbers mentioned in the viral post.

Conclusion:

Therefore, we conclude that the viral image, which purports to display the percentage of pesticides detected in drinks released by the IMA, is false. IMA did not release any such data. Nonetheless, certain reports from 2003 and 2004 claimed that pesticides were present in soft drinks made in India. However, there is a discrepancy between the reports and the viral claim percentage.

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Indu Meenakshi

Indu Meenakshi is a former Microbiologist-turned-journalist, works as a Sub-Editor at YouTurn. She additionally holds Master’s in Management and English Literature. As a fact-checker, her job entails actively dispelling false information found online, exposing fake news, and raising public awareness.
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