Red Bull High On Cocaine

Hong Kong officials have found traces of cocaine in cans of Red Bull, a few days after Taiwanese authorities confiscated close to 18,000 cases of the popular energy drink.

Officials at the Centre for Food Safety 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’, a spokesman said. He added the amount of cocaine found in the drinks posed little health danger.

The traces were between 0.1 and 0.3 micrograms of the illegal drug per litre, the statement said.

Hong Kong’s commissioner for narcotics, Sally Wong, said the government was now taking legal advice on any possible legal liability for importers and retailers.

‘Cocaine is a dangerous drug… The possession and dealing in the drug is a criminal offence,’ she said in the statement.

The revelation comes after Taiwan authorities said on Saturday they had confiscated nearly 18,000 cases of Red Bull imported from Austria after finding it contained traces of the drug.

Red Bull, whose advertising slogan is ‘Red Bull gives you wings’, was founded by Austrian toothpaste salesman Dietrich Mateschitz in the 1980s. It has since become one of the dominant players in the global energy drinks market.

Hmmm, I always wonder about that marketing slogan. The ads on the other hand are a complete turn off.

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Six German states have banned Red Bull Cola after lab tests turned up trace amounts of coca leaf extracts in the beverage. According to authorities, the substance requires the beverage to be classified as a narcotic, requiring a license for sale. (CoCa Cola didn’t become entirely cocaine-free until 1929).

From BBC News

“(Red Bull) said coca leaf extracts were used worldwide as a natural flavouring, and that its own tests had found no traces of cocaine. The illegal cocaine alkaloid – one of 10 found in coca and representing only 0.8% of the plant’s chemical make-up – is chemically removed before use, as mandated by international anti-narcotics agencies.

“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 Nuremberg, Bavaria, told Time magazine.

“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. If you start examining lots of other drinks and food so carefully, you’d find a lot of surprising things.”

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