Authorities in a couple of states in Germany â€“ Hesse and North-Rhine Westphalia â€“ have reportedly prohibited retailers from selling Red Bull Cola. A nationwide ban in Germany may also be in the offing for the product, which is also available in the United Kingdom. At this time, Rewe, a German retail giant, has ordered the removal of Red Bull from its shops.
The discovery was made by a food safety institute in North-Rhine Westphalia after an elaborate chemical test on samples of Red Bull Cola. This was revealed by Bernard Kuehnle, Head of the Food Safety Department at the Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection. What the investigation yielded was the presence of de-cocainized coca leaf extract in the drink.
While reports indicate that the levels of cocaine found in the samples were not necessarily life threatening, it is nevertheless deemed illegal. The presence of cocaine meant that the drink will need to be classified as a narcotic as opposed to a food product, and will require a special license to be marketed as such.
A spokesperson for Red Bull has released a statement on behalf of the manufacturer, saying that the de-cocainized coca leaf extract found in the drink is used as a natural flavoring in food worldwide. It is also arguing that Red Bull Cola as well as other food that contain coca leaf extract are considered as safe in the US and in the European Union.
Red Bull products are sold and used in some parts of the world as an energy drink. In Europe, Red Bull is popular as a â€œclubberâ€™s drinkâ€ and is often mixed with vodka, according to reports. The company claims that the drink contains caffeine, vitamins and sugar which â€œkick-start the bodyâ€™s metabolism and keeps people alert.â€