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Cocaine Test Prompts Red Bull Removal In Germany 290

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the but-it-just-tastes-so-yummy dept.
viyh writes to mention that six German states have mandated pulling Red Bull Cola energy drinks off the shelves after testing found trace amounts of cocaine in the drink. "Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment said Monday that the cocaine level was too low to pose a health risk. It planned to produce a more detailed report Wednesday. Red Bull said its cola is 'harmless and marketable in both the US and Europe.' It said similar coca leaf extracts are used worldwide as flavoring, and a test it commissioned itself found no cocaine traces."
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Cocaine Test Prompts Red Bull Removal In Germany

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  • Hah (Score:5, Funny)

    by mackinaw_apx (1444371) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:18PM (#28088289)
    So that's how you get your wings! :p
  • Bottoms Up. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ostracus (1354233) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:20PM (#28088313) Journal

    Coca Cola with real Coca.

    • It also has real kola nut in it. I really like the stuff and will be upset if I can't get my fix in the US.

      • You likely won't be able to get your fix in the US. What they sell there as Coca-Cola is just a runny dark corn syrup.
    • Re:Bottoms Up. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:45PM (#28088529) Homepage

      Coca cola already contains real Coca, with the cocaine removed. There is only one company licensed to import Coca leafs into the US, and as far as I'm aware they only sell the extract to Coca Cola.

      Nice way to get a legal monopoly on that special "Coca Cola" flavor, no?

    • Re:Bottoms Up. (Score:5, Informative)

      by MoonBuggy (611105) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:51PM (#28088567) Journal

      Actually Coca-Cola does still contain real coca leaf flavouring. It has the cocaine extracted by Stepan Company [wikipedia.org] before the leaves are passed on to Coca-Cola.

      I wouldn't be particularly surprised if the process is less than 100% effective, either. When you're looking at amounts on the order of 10^-9 grams per litre, it's quite possible that any cola with real coca leaves in (don't know how common they are) has always contained traces and nobody's noticed or cared.

  • by causality (777677) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:23PM (#28088335)
    If the stated purpose of the War on (some) Drugs is public safety and the prevention of crime (since drug use is handled as a law enforcement problem and not as a medical issue), I'd like to know how this furthers the cause. The brief article stated the cocaine content amounted to 0.4 micrograms of cocaine per liter of the beverage. Sounds to me like anyone trying to use cocaine by drinking Red Bull Cola would die of excess water consumption (anything is a poison given a high enough dose) before they'd feel the cocaine at all. Additionally, if someone tried to extract the cocaine from the drink and purify it, they'd spend a ton of money on the drink and I would imagine, since we're talking about nanogram amounts per liter, the expenditure would have to far exceed what they'd pay if they obtained it from a drug dealer.

    Welcome to modern drug hysteria where logic and reasoning need not apply when evaluating potential threats to public safety. Aren't the Germans glad they have a government that's powerful enough to worry about things like this? It's amazing, really. No matter how absurd the drug hysteria becomes, no one or almost no one with any significant media presence is willing to suggest that maybe the way we're currently handling drugs isn't the best way to deal with them.
    • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:58PM (#28088619)

      I would imagine, since we're talking about nanogram amounts per liter, the expenditure would have to far exceed what they'd pay if they obtained it from a drug dealer.

      Should be easy enough to calculate:

      Pure cocaine sells for, let's [yahoo.com] say [answers.com], $30,000 per kg. To get a kilogram of cocaine from RedBull would take 2.5 billion liters [google.com], or roughly 7 billion 12 oz cans [google.com]. A 24-case of Red Bull seems to cost about $34.80 [bodyconcept.com], or $1.45 per can.

      In other words, to get 1 kg of cocaine from Red Bull would cost $10 billion, not to mention the enormous expense of purification. And all this would only be worth $30,000. It would cost 340,000 times more for the Red Bull than the cocaine would be worth.

      As you said, the numbers don't exactly add up. Not even close.

      • by euxneks (516538) on Monday May 25, 2009 @07:53PM (#28089087)

        Should be easy enough to calculate:

        Pure cocaine sells for, let's [yahoo.com] say [answers.com], $30,000 per kg. To get a kilogram of cocaine from RedBull would take 2.5 billion liters [google.com], or roughly 7 billion 12 oz cans [google.com]. A 24-case of Red Bull seems to cost about $34.80 [bodyconcept.com], or $1.45 per can.

        In other words, to get 1 kg of cocaine from Red Bull would cost $10 billion, not to mention the enormous expense of purification. And all this would only be worth $30,000. It would cost 340,000 times more for the Red Bull than the cocaine would be worth.

        As you said, the numbers don't exactly add up. Not even close.

        There ought to be a Google calculator function for this.

        "$30000 worth of cocaine in Red Bulls"

        $30,000 dollars worth of cocaine = $10,000,000,000 dollars worth of red bull

      • In other words, to get 1 kg of cocaine from Red Bull would cost $10 billion, not to mention the enormous expense of purification. And all this would only be worth $30,000. It would cost 340,000 times more for the Red Bull than the cocaine would be worth.

        Yes, but we have to think of the children. Can you imagine some innocent child distilling all that Red Bull and then snorting the coke? If we save but one child, it would be worth banning Red Bull.....
    • by hoytak (1148181) on Monday May 25, 2009 @07:08PM (#28088705) Homepage

      Sounds to me like anyone trying to use cocaine by drinking Red Bull Cola would die of excess water consumption (anything is a poison given a high enough dose) before they'd feel the cocaine at all.

      [Citation needed]

      I suspect it'd be because they flew off into outer space and suffocated.

    • by Rob Kaper (5960) on Monday May 25, 2009 @07:08PM (#28088707) Homepage

      Aren't the Germans glad they have a government that's powerful enough to worry about things like this?

      The war on drugs is a good topic to start not to single out nation states. It's Germany now, but this is no exception. The rest of Europe isn't much better, except maybe Portugal who have actually decriminalised a lot. Even my Holland is slowly turning into a nanny state when it comes to drugs. Let's not even get started about the US, or the rest of the world for that matter.

      • Even my Holland is slowly turning into a nanny state when it comes to drugs

        That could have something to do with the Germans and the French visiting in droves. It's a nuisance for everyone living in the Dutch border cities.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      If the media keeps its mouth shut, it will be allowed to live. As contraband, drugs are much more profitable to organized criminals in, and out of government. This is no health issue any more than a speed trap is a safety issue. The reasons for this situation is quite simple. But it's more effective to make a moral issue out of it for mass appeal. And it still is very much a racial issue. Don't want your daughter hanging out with jazz musicians.

    • I know that this is not the point you are trying to make, but I thought that you'd die from caffeine before the water intoxication kicks in. Interestingly, you are right, overconsumption of energy drinks will more likely result in water intoxication than caffeine intoxication. Here is my calculation:
      175mg/kg * 70kg = 12.25g (Wikipedia says that 150-200mg caffeine per body weight kilogram is lethal; assuming 175mg and 70kg as average. Results in 12.25g as lethal dose)
      0.2g/l * x = 12.25g (According to Wikiped

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by phantomfive (622387)
        Once I drank 11 liters of water in a single day, without eating anything. By the end I really wasn't feeling good, I literally thought I was dying, but all I needed was a bit of sugar (in the form of coolaid, actually) and I immediately felt better. So as long as you are getting enough sugar (and salt), I think it will take even more water than that to cause problems.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by andr386 (703803)
        You might drink far more than 11 liters. People who have psychogenic poydipsia often drink more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychogenic_polydipsia [wikipedia.org] They feel the urge to fill themselves with water. But after a certain treshold, the water will eventually deplete you sodium serum, and your nerves won't be able to work anymore, ... then you die.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by fractoid (1076465)
          Annoyingly, this is often implicated in MDMA deaths. In fact I don't think I've read a highly publicised case of "ecstasy death" that didn't resolve to either hyperhydration or the pill actually containing something completely fucking different (the most recent one in Australia was a girl who bought a pill that she thought was MDMA and turned out to be a combination of GBH and Ketamine... and yet it was widely reported as "teen ecstasy death").
    • It's amazing, really. No matter how absurd the drug hysteria becomes, no one or almost no one with any significant media presence is willing to suggest that maybe the way we're currently handling drugs isn't the best way to deal with them.

      Imagine that: the government is incapable of effectively and efficiently executing an complex task. Find any major sector of the government, and you will be able to say the same thing.

      I will tell you why I am against legalization of drugs (although this is an unpopular stance on slashdot): because when I have crackheads walking down the street all the time to the house on the corner, I want to be able to call the police and have them be able to do something about it. When my neighbor's meth lab burns hi

      • by Carrot007 (37198)

        Not to take one side or the other but your argument makes no sense.

        SHould things be leagal then.

        i. The 'crackheads' would not be walking down the street all the time to the house on the corner. They would have bought there drugs from a reputable person, a house on the corner is not a commercial property and would not be allowed to sell for the irritation it causes. They would also probably be at home as they bought there drugs at a reasonable time when thery were near a shop.

        ii. Yout neighbour also in the l

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by phantomfive (622387)
          Go out on the streets. How many druggies do you see? You can probably find some if you look hard enough. How many drunks do you see? Tons. Legalizing drugs (by itself) will not reduce the number of crackheads on the street. There need to be other actions taken as well.
      • by fractoid (1076465) on Monday May 25, 2009 @11:49PM (#28090985) Homepage

        I will tell you why I am against legalization of drugs (although this is an unpopular stance on slashdot):

        I will tell you why I am for legalization of drugs, and hopefully you will see that my reasons are exactly the same as yours:

        Because when I have crackheads walking down the street all the time to the house on the corner, I want to be able to call the police and have them be able to do something about it.

        Because if crack were legal, crackheads wouldn't walk to that house, they'd drop into a chemist and pay $24.95 for a clean, measured dose. They wouldn't have to deal with dealers price gouging them once they get hooked, so they wouldn't have to steal your bigscreen TV to pay for their next hit. If they get wired and screw up in public, then arrest them for their behaviour. If they don't cause any public nuisance then why is it any of your damn business what they do?

        When my neighbor's meth lab burns his house to the ground, I want him to go away, not build a new, better one.

        Why would your neighbour bother to run a meth lab if he can buy some cheaply and legally? I don't see him running an illegal still in his basement.

        These are not made up issues. Drugs suck. They cause sucky things in society. And a lot of people, probably the majority, feel this way.

        These are not made up issues, but they are caused by prohibition, not by the drugs themselves.

        The only reason that legalisation ISN'T good is that people who get addicted would not have so much pressure to quit. I say that is their personal choice and they should take personal responsibility.

    • "Some" drugs is right. Here in the eastern US, our streets are lined with mulberry trees (the unripe berries of which are hallucinogenic). And our government does nothing about it!

    • by fermion (181285)
      To be fair, there is little modern about this, and really is not the drug hysteria that the majority of the population, at least in the US, complain about. When what is now bayer synthesized heroin, it pretty quickly became clear it was worse than the morphine it was meant to replace, and was essentially banned in the US almost 100 years ago. The same thing happens every ten years or so when something thinks they have come up with a safe speed, until it is shown that there is no such thing. I agree that am
  • Levels (Score:5, Funny)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:24PM (#28088341)

    the cocaine level was too low to pose a health risk.

    I would say the levels are too high when you are willing to blow some dude in a bathroom stall to get more Red Bull. Till then, it's probably just fine.

    • Re:Levels (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 25, 2009 @07:27PM (#28088873)

      Dear Sir,

      When you're ready, I am waiting in stall 3 with your Red Bull.

      - Red Bull Dealer

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      when you are willing to blow some dude in a bathroom stall

      How much redbull did it take to get you to that point?

      Actually, I think this entire cocaine scandal is a brilliant marketing campaign by RedBull. I've got a feeling their sales are about to go through the roof.

  • She's alright (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Neon Aardvark (967388) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:24PM (#28088347) Homepage

    Trace amounts of cocaine were found in the German parliament toilets.

    Ergo, German politicians should be banned from Germany.

  • by Tigersmind (1549183) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:25PM (#28088361)

    They would of course have a very small amount in the drink. Not enough to break laws, but enough to make people go "Lets get this! It's cocaine!" if it would ever be discovered. Marketing at its best folks.

  • Coca-Cola next ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by moon3 (1530265)
    "Coca" contains cocaine alkaloids, a basis for the drug cocaine.

    So Coca-Cola, that still uses Coca extracts in the beverage might also contain "trace amounts" of the substance.. Greedy regulators might have missed a bigger target here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Manip (656104)

      According to this page at one point Coca Cola did indeed contain trace amounts but that is no longer the case and hasn't been the case since 1929

      http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/cocaine.asp [snopes.com]

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by moon3 (1530265)
        Coca-Cola buys (though subsidiary) about 100 metric tons of dried Peruvian coca leaves each year, according to Marco Castillo, spokesman for Peru's state-owned National Coca Co.

        (source Wikipedia)

        And it uses it in Coca-Cola, that of course doesn't mean that Coca-Cola contains cocain, just a Coca extract.
    • Yes, and hydrochloric acid contains water, so it must be perfectly safe to drink. :P

  • by lobiusmoop (305328) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:44PM (#28088519) Homepage

    Red Bull is a homeopathic stimulant!

  • Oh yeah? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:48PM (#28088549)
    I've never bought or used cocaine yet I probably have more of it in my wallet. On my bank notes.
    • Never? Never gone to a Dentist and gotten Novocaine? Never used a head-ache tablet like Codis? It is really tough to have your teeth worked on without narcotics. I have had that done a few times on very small fillings, but anything serious, I'd rather have the injections thanks.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Novocaine is similar to cocaine and dentists used to use cocaine as an anesthetic. Neither are narcotics though. Narcotics are only opiates and opioids, despite what the TV says.

        I would imagine the poster above you was correct in saying he never used cocaine.

      • by 4D6963 (933028)
        I have healthy teeth, so nope, none of that.
  • Half-baked (Score:5, Funny)

    by slashdotmsiriv (922939) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:54PM (#28088593)

    Red Bull is not a drug. I used to suck d*** for coke. Now that's an addiction. You ever suck some d*** for Red Bull?

  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Monday May 25, 2009 @07:15PM (#28088779) Homepage

    I guess the lawmakers hope that all people, especially people who buys extra caffeine containing things like Red Bull must hate cocaine or should be afraid of it.

    If Red Bull sales explode because of these news, I wouldn't be so surprised. Red Bull could never come up with such a great PR idea, getting banned for having trace amounts of cocaine, a World known, famous thing.

    Ask any police guy, they are particularly afraid of cocaine because people somehow think it is classy. While it may have very same, very dangerous side effects (including sudden death) and addiction, they aren't afraid of it like they would be afraid of heroine.

    You now declare a free to buy thing in grocery store has that matter even it is ridiculously low. Very clever. If I was Red Bull, I would even sponsor these politicians.

  • It's everywhere (Score:3, Informative)

    by dword (735428) on Monday May 25, 2009 @07:20PM (#28088817)

    I recently read on /. that they found traces of cocaine in Madrid if I'm not mistaking. It was later revealed that cocaine is found almost everywhere, because there's always a very very small amount in the air.

  • There is more Cocaine on a US dollar than in 1 ltr of RedBull!

    This is just plain stupidity! I mean there are FDA rules on how many rat hairs are allowed in a chocolate bar... (And no it is not none)

    You will get higher off of the caffeine than the cocaine!

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday May 25, 2009 @07:34PM (#28088921) Homepage

    Marketing Guy: So, there are artificial flavors made from coca?

    Food Chemistry Guy: Yeah, wild, eh?

    Marketing Guy: Can you just fill the can with artificial flavoring?

    Food Chemistry Guy: No, it would kill our customers, and it would be illegal. The allowable level is much lower than 100%.

    Marketing Guy: How much lower?

    Food Chemistry Guy: 120 PPM. [note: totally made up]

    Marketing Guy: What's a PPM?

    Food Chemistry Guy: Parts per million, it is a more precise measure of...

    Marketing Guy: [interrupting] Forget I asked -- just put in as much as you can.

    Food Chemistry Guy: But, it'll taste terrible.

    Marketing Guy: [blinks] ... Ummm, have you tasted regular Red Bull?

  • Red Balls (Score:2, Funny)

    by iveygman (1303733)
    It's cocaine in can, baby! Shazam!
  • Under the same logic they should also ban, prohibit and retire from the market:

    1. US currency [bit.ly]
    2. Drinking water [bit.ly]
    3. Air [bit.ly]

    because all of them contain traces of cocaine.
  • by Mishotaki (957104) on Monday May 25, 2009 @08:31PM (#28089453)
    The one thing that i really wonder in that is: where do they get those leaves? isn't it illegal to get cocaine leaves?

    Since they should get big shipments of it to use for their production, wouldn't the police make a raid at their production facility? it would be a pretty big bust wouldn't it?

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Monday May 25, 2009 @08:39PM (#28089519)

    I tried Red Bull Cola and it tastes horrible. Its not even good. It's just shit.

    Perhaps the cocaine content is to help "sell" the product as something deliciously mmm mmm good? You would have to be on hallucinogens to enjoy Red Bull Cola's shit taste.

     

  • by moxley (895517) on Monday May 25, 2009 @10:01PM (#28090245)

    Sounds like good news for Red Bull Cola US Sales!

    Yes, because we Americans, we love us some Cocaine!!

    I guarantee it though, that that stuff will sell better in the US because of this story.

  • by WoollyMittens (1065278) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:24AM (#28091487)
    There's also trace amounts of drugs on money, let's all paaaaaanic and take everything out of circulation. Someone should explain these boneheaded idiots that a trace amount nearly nothing and has probably always been there.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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