印度可樂殘留農藥 民眾不滿布希政府袒護企業 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

印度可樂殘留農藥 民眾不滿布希政府袒護企業

2006年08月28日
ENS美國,紐約報導;莫聞、蘇家億編譯;陳瑞賓審校

圖片來源:印度可口可樂公司印度的可口可樂與百事可樂公司,本月中旬因涉及販賣對健康有害的次等產品,而被迫關閉在印度喀拉拉邦(Kerala)的裝瓶工廠。而美國政府卻介入這起事件,為這兩間全球軟性飲料巨擘的運作背書,反擊當地政府與消費者團體的指控,因而造成近日美國政府在印度飽受各方激烈的批評。

除了喀拉拉邦,其他尚有6個邦也對兩家可樂公司下達不同程度的禁令。新德里一獨立研究機構「科學與環境研究中心」(Center for Science and Environment,CSE)的研究人員指出,他們進行過各式各樣的研究,均驗出在印度販售的可口可樂與百事可樂殘留農藥,殘留值高達歐盟標準的24倍。

不過兩家可樂公司均明確否認上述指控,並強調他們的產品安全無虞;但他們提出的辯解仍無法讓印度各地的衛生官員信服。日前,印度最高法院已下令兩家可樂公司在六個月內,公佈產品成分。

此外,發起運動對抗可樂公司的團體,則對於美國政府的態度大為不滿。他們認為美國政府不關心地方的環境問題,並且似乎打算無條件支持兩家公司。

喀拉拉邦普拉奇馬達(Plachimada)團結工聯的成員阿業言(R. Ajayan)說:「美國應該讓印度政府自行判斷什麼才是對印度人民安全的。」阿業言此番話主要是針對美國資深貿易官員的一番談話而來。美國商務部主管國際貿易的副部長雷文凱(Franklin Lavin)針對印度抨擊可樂公司事件,稍早在喀拉拉邦對可口可樂與百事可樂下達禁令之後,曾接受法新社專訪表示:「這會重挫印度經濟。」他指出:「在印度努力吸引外資之際,若讓這些不願公平對待外商的人們主導發言權,並不是件好事。」

反對可樂公司的人則抨擊,美國打算用其在印度的政治影響力來扭轉法院判決,雷文凱的言論反映了布希政府的觀點──布希打算力挺這兩家他的競選活動金主。國際組織「印度資源中心」(India Resource Center)舉例說,布希在2004年競選連任時,曾收受可口可樂與其旗下事業的政治獻金逾38萬美元。

該中心成員史瓦茲塔瓦(Amit Srivastava)說:「可口可樂在布希政府的策略性投資,現在是回報的時候了。」史瓦茲塔瓦等人指出,美國官員一向站在可口可樂的立場來介入類似爭議,這已經不是第一次了;從他們的行為顯示,人權考量往往被擺在商業利益之後。

Bush-Coke-Pepsi Triumvirate Under Fire in India
NEW YORK, New York, August 24, 2006 (ENS); By Haider Rizvi

The Bush administration is facing fierce criticism across India for backing the Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola companies in their fight with local authorities and consumer groups. Last week, the two multibillion dollar soft drink giants were forced to wind up their operations in the state of Kerala over charges of selling substandard products that could pose health risks.

The cola companies are already facing full or partial bans in six other Indian states. Researchers at the Center for Science and Environment, an independent group based in New Delhi, say they have conducted various studies that clearly show pesticide residues in Coca-Cola and Pepsi products in India were 24 times higher than European Union standards.

Both companies have categorically denied this charge and asserted that their products are safe and pose no risk to human health. However, they have failed to convince local health officials in many parts of the country. The cola companies have been ordered by the Indian Supreme Court to reveal the contents of their products within the next six months.

Those campaigning against the cola operations in India say they are furious over the U.S. government's refusal to consider local environmental concerns and its seemingly unconditional support for the two companies.

"The U.S. government should let the Indian government decide what is safe for the Indian public," said R. Ajayan of the Plachimada Solidarity Committee in Kerala, in response to a senior U.S. trade official's criticism of India's action against the companies.

"This is a setback for the Indian economy," Franklin Lavin, the U.S. undersecretary for international trade, told Agence France Press in an interview following the Kerala ban on Coca-Cola and Pepsi products.

"In a time when India is working hard to attract and retain foreign investment," Lavin said, "it would unfortunate if the discussions were dominated by those who did not want to treat foreign companies fairly."

Activists charge that the cola companies are trying to use political influence in India to avert the ban on the sale of their products and that Lavin's comments demonstrate the Bush administration's efforts to favor those who financed its election campaigns in the past.

In 2004, the George W. Bush presidential campaign received more than $380,000 from Coca-Cola and its affiliates, according to the India Resource Center, an international campaign group that works with local activists.

"Coca-Cola has strategically bought its way onto the good side of the Bush administration," said the Center's Amit Srivastava, "which is now returning the favor for the financial support."

Srivastava and others say this is not the first time U.S. officials are intervening on behalf of Coca-Cola and that their actions in the past leave no doubt that they are willing to discount human rights when commercial interests are at stake.