Cocaine traces found in Red Bull Cola

May 26, 2009 at 9:44 AM
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BERLIN, May 26 (UPI) -- A German scientific finding that Red Bull Cola contains trace amounts of cocaine has prompted a controversy over the drink, analysts say.

The Health Institute in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia is expected this week to publish the results of a study that found 0.13 micrograms of cocaine per can of Red Bull Cola, a separate product from the popular Red Bull energy drink, triggered a ban on the cola's sale in six German states, Time Magazine reported Monday.

Red Bull, of Santa Monica, Calif., says on its Web site it uses coca leaves as a flavoring agent in the making of its cola, but insists it removes the illegal cocaine alkaloid. The alkaloid's removal is required for the sale of coca leaves outside the Andean region of South America, the magazine said.

Some experts say the ban is unnecessary.

"There is no scientific basis for this ban on Red Bull Cola because the levels of cocaine found are so small," Fritz Soergel, the head of the Institute for Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research in the city of Nuremberg, told Time. "And it's not even cocaine itself. According to the tests we carried out, it's a non-active degradation product with no effect on the body."

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