Wednesday, June 3, 2009

RED BULL Drink tested for Cocaine in Saudi Arabia

Energy drink tested for traces of cocaine
from The Gulf Times
June 3, 2009
By Sarmad Qazi

The Supreme Council of Health yesterday said it was making tests and analysis on the energy drink Red Bull after Hong Kong found traces of cocaine in its contents on Tuesday. Earlier, Taiwanese authorities confiscated about 18,000 cases of the popular energy drink.

“The Supreme Council for Health has taken samples of Red Bull to make in-house tests to see whether the drink contains traces of cocaine as some reports (elsewhere in the world) have suggested,” a statement said.

Food safety officials in Hong Kong said a laboratory analysis found tiny amounts of the illegal drug in samples of “Red Bull Cola,” “Red Bull Sugar-free” and “Red Bull Energy Drink”.

Last week, German authorities banned some retailers from selling Red Bull Cola, as the country considered a nationwide ban after traces of cocaine were found in it. A food safety institute in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia found the drug during a test on the Cola.

In the Middle East, Jordan has banned the import of the energy drink Red Bull Cola and ordered its local agent to withdraw the product from the market.

The Supreme Health Council’s statement also added that it had taken samples from batches of other such energy drinks too and would announce the result of the tests “as soon as it can while keeping in mind public’s health.”

The Qatari distributor of the Red Bull told Gulf Times it had not been contacted as of yesterday but added that “it would co-operate with the authorities in anyway it can.”

“The news is highly unlikely to affect us and consumers here in Middle East. But if there is a problem with that particular brand, we will extend total co-operation,” an official said.

According to him, the drink with the catchy tagline “Red Bull Gives you Wings” is extremely popular in Qatar with current consumption hovering around a million cans a week.

“If we are to withdraw (the brand) from the market for seven days, that would mean around 10-15 containers. Each container carries 2,500 cases of 24 cans each,” he said.

Back in Hong Kong, the Centre for Food Safety insisted the amount of cocaine found posed little health danger.

Red Bull moved quickly to deny the findings and said independent tests on the same batch of drinks had found no traces of cocaine.
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