Health officials say cocaine in Red Bull Cola harmless
The amount of cocaine found in Red Bull Cola is completely harmless, despite being pulled from store shelves in several states after experts found traces of the narcotic in the drink, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) said on Tuesday.
“It is absolutely not dangerous for the consumer,” BfR spokesman Thomas Schlicht told The Local. “There is no health threat that could come from the amount of cocaine found in this product.”
Last week, a lab in North Rhine-Westphalia found trace amounts of cocaine in Red Bull Cola. As a result, the state ordered grocery stores to pull the product from the shelves. Soon after, the states of Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania followed suit.
According to daily newspaper Berliner Morgenpost, the lab found 0.4 microgrammes of cocaine per litre of Red Bull, and there are just 1,000,000 microgrammes in a gramme.
The trace amounts of cocaine are from the “de-cocainised” coca leaves that are used worldwide in many products as food flavouring.
But a drink cannot be classified as food and needs a special license because it contains a narcotic, daily Frankfurter Neue Presse reported.
In a press release, Red Bull maintained its product follows the strictest food guidelines in the United States and the European Union. But once the states have banned it from grocery shelves, Red Bull has few options in getting the cola back in stores.
“It is still up to the individual state as to whether to ban the product or not,” Schlicht told The Local. “Red Bull either has to change the recipe or accept that the beverage cannot be sold in those states.”
The state of Bavaria, where Red Bull Germany has its headquarters in Munich, has already said that it will conduct its own test on the product before reconsidering the ban, Berliner Morgenpost reported.