Cancer Alert Forces Coke to Withdraw Its Bottled Water

Daily Mail (London), March 20, 2004 | Go to article overview

Cancer Alert Forces Coke to Withdraw Its Bottled Water


Byline: SEAN POULTER

COCA-COLA has had to withdraw its new 'pure' water, Dasani, after finding illegal levels of a chemical linked to cancer.

More than 500,000 bottles were being cleared from supermarkets and stores across the UK yesterday.

The contamination came from chemicals added in the 'highly-sophisticated' purification process which Coca-Cola used to create Dasani.

There has already been controversy over the drink after it was revealed that it was simply treated tap water.

The recall will cost Coca-Cola [pounds sterling]50million in the UK alone and threatens the future of Dasani around the world. It is the number-two brand in the [pounds sterling] 5billion U.S. bottled water market, where any suggestion of a cancer risk could decimate sales.

Tests found Dasani was contaminated with the chemical bromate, which has been linked to cancer when consumed over a long period of time.

Some samples contained bromate at more than double the legal level - 10 parts per billion - decided by Britain's Food Standards Agency.

Because the company has withdrawn the water, it is not expected to face prosecution.

The Food Standards Agency welcomed the product recall, saying: 'This is a sensible measure by the company.' The watchdog said it was satisfied there is 'no immediate risk to public health'.

But it added: 'Some people may choose not to drink any Dasani they bought before its withdrawal, given the levels of bromate it contains.' Production has been halted at Coca-Cola's plant in Sidcup, Kent, where mains water supplied by Thames Water is turned into Dasani.

There must now be questions over whether Coca-Cola will try to resurrect a brand which has suffered a series of PR blows in Britain.

The editor of Marketing Week magazine, Stuart Smith, said: 'It's a disastrous setback for Coke's most important product launch in years.

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