New Delhi - India's highest court has ordered Pepsi and Coca-Cola to print warnings on their bottles sold in the country that the contents may contain pesticide residues.
The Supreme Court ruling late on Monday upheld a judgment by the Rajasthan High Court in November.
The two soft drink giants have two weeks to give the lower court proposed drafts of the pesticide warnings.
In February 2003 a parliamentary probe found soft drinks sold in India by the United States beverage giants contained pesticide residues and urged tougher national health standards.
The inquiry was ordered after the Centre for Science and Environment, alleged 12 of the companies' soft drinks had such high pesticide levels they could lead to cancer.
The parliamentary committee concluded that the group "stands corroborated on its finding of pesticide residues".
Coca-Cola and Pepsi have consistently denied their drinks pose any health hazards.
Their lawyer, Harish Salve, said during court proceedings that extensive use of pesticides in agriculture had resulted in a high degree of their presence in sugar. He said no pesticide was added to the drinks in the manufacturing process. - Sapa-AFP