Red Bull responded yesterday to concerns raised by the German Nordrhein-Westfalen Institute of Health and Work about its Red Bull Simply Cola product. The company, which has its U.S. base in Santa Monica, Calif., released a statement saying: "After analyzing a single can of Red Bull Simply Cola, the German Nordrhein-Westfalen Institute of Health and Work, raised concerns with German authorities regarding the inclusion of de-cocainized coca leaf extract in the product.
"De-cocainized coca leaf extracts are used as flavoring in food products around the world and are considered to be safe. Indeed, in 21 C.F.R. 182.20, the Food and Drug Administration regulations provide that it is acceptable and safe to use de-cocainized coca in food products in the United States. Red Bull Simply Cola and other food products containing such extracts may therefore be sold legally in the U.S. Other countries have similarly recognized the safety of using the ingredient.
"Although only de-cocainized coca leaf extracts are used in Red Bull Simply Cola, we take the German authority’s concerns seriously and had our product analyzed by an independent accredited institute which has confirmed that alkaloids (cocaine) from the coca leaf are not detectable in our product. Further, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) confirmed publicly that the ingredients contained in Red Bull Simply Cola present no risk to human health and no risk of any undesired pharmacological effects including, any potential narcotic effects."
Red Bull said in its statement that its Red Bull Simply Cola is not an energy drink, but a soft drink with 16 natural flavor ingredients, "including both the original kola nut and coca leaf."