Suhel Seth on Pepsi Coke and Pesticides

(running slight temperature, and beset with allergic sneezing fits, so this is going to be short)

CSE’s out with another report on pesticides. The companies had not been cleared, but the issue had been forgotten for a while. Buried. Last time around, I argued for the companies in a college debate and won…even though I felt they were guilty, because it was my task to argue in their favour. I used the Outlook reports, and put the onus on the consumer – if the consumer is so worried, then the consumer should stop.

Suhel Seth (representing the cola companies) faced off with Sunita Narain of the CSE on CNN-IBN today. During the debate, he accused, incorrectly, Ms. Narain of making logical errors while voicing her views.

Those who haven’t studied logic might have believed him, just because he mentioned something like ‘logical errors’. Here’s a list of errors, some logical, that Mr. Seth himself made during the debate:

* He said: companies are global and follow international standards. They have a large customer base who trust that the products are safe. Logical fallacy: common belief
* He said: The companies care for their customers. Why would they do this? Logical Fallacy: begging the question
* He said: There are no global standards (therefore India cannot have one). Fallacy: dont remember which fallacy it is, but – this doesn’t mean that one country cannot set standards for herself
* He said: Outlook sent samples to London, independent test and no problems in the drinks. Fallacy: Does not hold valid until the same samples from the same bottle are tested by two different agencies
* He said: They have same standards as their parent companies. Fallacy: doesnt mean that those standards are being adhered to in India.
* He said: this is an attempt by one small NGO (or one person) to gain fame by targetting large companies. Logical Fallacy: Ad hominem (attacking the person).

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  1. did he say, “There are no global standards…“, because i just switched off a whiny mr. seth (was watching it on and off) and he was trying to conclude by saying that the companies do follow some sort of global standards and that india is no different.

    actually, anyone who has even an iota of intelligence will know that they are being taken for a ride, when mr. seth insists that they are justified in doing what they are doing because the onus is on the goverment to come up with more stringent norms.

    bull, i say.

    but at the end, the point remains that if the consumer is so concerned, and it evidently is not, no one will buy these soft drinks in the first place.

    ~ harneet

  2. He said that there are no global standards – governments across the globe have not been able to set standards because it is not possible to. Later, he says that Coke and Pepsi in India have set standards according to the global standards set by their companies…

    Contradictory. Anyway, I suppose he was just doing his job for arguing the company’s case. The companies would be better off hiring a lawyer to represent them on TV…

  3. Well, this one likes his Old Monk neat. ūüôā

    But yes…mixing it with the other poison wont stop. Serving it to guests wont stop.

    I don’t understand why people don’t realise that there are people like me who would prefer water when they’re thirsty…

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