Red Bull Cola has been banned in at least six German states after the newest offering from the world’s leading energy drink maker was found to contain cocaine.
The controversy blew up on Friday after the food safety agency in North Rhine-Westphalia (LIGA) state found 0.4 micrograms per litre in the drink.
Red Bull issued a statement yesterday that said the problem had arisen out of its “use of a decocainised coca leaf extract in the product.” “Decocainised coca leaf extracts are used as flavouring in foodstuffs around the world and are considered to be safe (eg FDA Gras Status, Council of Europe)."
The use of coca leaves is something that industry is understandably coy about given its links to cocaine, even if decocainised leaves are legal in most countries.
According to a story in Time magazine, Coca-Cola refused to confirm or deny whether it used either regular or decocainised coca leaves in its products.