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UAE authorities to test Red Bull energy drink

Further steps will be taken after results of laboratory tests across UAE come in.

Image Credit:Supplied Picture
The Red Bull products under question are Red Bull Energy Drink, Red Bull Cola and Red Bull Sugar Free.
Gulf News

Dubai: Red Bull, the popular energy drink, will be tested across the UAE for traces of cocaine.

The General Secretariat Municipalities (GSM) issued a circular to all Food Control sections and departments on Sunday.

The move came after reports poured in from Germany, Taiwan and Austria that said laboratory analysis showed a tiny amount of cocaine in Red Bull drinks.

The Red Bull products under question are Red Bull Energy Drink, Red Bull Cola and Red Bull Sugar Free.

Red Bull Cola is not sold in the UAE. It has been launched exclusively in a few markets such as the US, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Russia, and has not yet been launched in the Middle East and Africa region.

A senior official with GSM yesterday said that reports published on Red Bull containing traces of illegal drugs have been looked into but that they will wait for laboratory results before deciding on the matter.

"You cannot ban the product unless we establish credibility on the reports that were published by some countries. But having said that we are equally concerned [about] ensuring a healthy life for those living in UAE. Action will be taken based on the tests results as and when they come in," said the official source.

A statement issued from Red Bull Regional Office for Middle East, Africa and Pacific read that no serious authority has suggested that there could be any trace of cocaine in Red Bull Energy Drink and that it has not been "banned" anywhere.

The statement said: "The Taiwanese Investigation Bureau appears to be confused. There were some concerns in Germany about the legal qualification of decocainized coca leaf extract that is used in the production of an entirely different product. One that is not even available in Taiwan or any other Asian market - Red Bull Simply Cola (and not Energy Drink).

"It would have been absolutely impossible for the Taiwanese (or any other) authorities to have found traces of cocaine in Red Bull Energy Drink. Red Bull Energy Drink does not even contain decocainized cocoa leaf extract.

"Nevertheless we had the concerned product samples analysed by an independent and accredited institute according to the most reliable and accurate methodology. Not surprisingly, the results show that Red Bull Energy Drink does not contain any cocaine.

"As for Red Bull Simply Cola, an assessment commissioned by Red Bull from the Austrian Belan Institute did not detect any trace of cocaine, and consequently clearly contradicts the assessment furnished by the LIGA (North Rhine Westphalia Institute for Health and Labour) in Germany.

"To clear up any concerns, the Bavarian Ministry for Environment, Health and Consumer Protection has decided to officially investigate the existing examination results&"

Hong Kong (AFP) 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.

The drink has now been taken off the shelves of major supermarkets, the spokesman said in a statement issued late on Monday. He added that the amount of cocaine found in the drinks posed little health danger.

Red Bull moved quickly to deny the findings and said independent tests on the same batch of drinks had found no traces of cocaine.

The Centre for Food Safety found traces of cocaine 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 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.

Red Bull's Asia Pacific marketing director, Daniel Beatty, said the firm strongly disputed the findings.

Is it becoming increasingly difficult to monitor all the ingredients in products? Do you trust the ingredients mentioned on the labels in the food products you buy?

Your comments

Red bull is an international brand with an unimaginable reputation throughout the world. I don't believe that Red Bull would have looked over the fact that there is Cocaine in their world famous product, and most definately would not put it in there on purpose as it is highly illegal and probably more expensive!
Posted: June 04, 2009, 00:59

Let's take it Easy, the authorities will take the right action of investgate the matter, then will know the truth. If yes.. it will be baned and if NO.. so you go ahead as normal or make up your mind. Easy !!!
Ehab Marzouq
Posted: June 03, 2009, 19:42

I used to drink it on regular basis, it causes constipation and other problems, unless you monitor your health; you won't be able to figure out if red bull has side effects or not!!
Posted: June 03, 2009, 18:13

I advice everyone not go for Red bull. Its ingredients itself seem to be dangerous for health. I even heard about Red Bull causing cancer according to experts. Not much sure about it though.
Abu Bakr Abdul Aziz
Al Ain,UAE
Posted: June 03, 2009, 18:02

I have couple of cans when i have to keep awake, but later on i feel some uneasiness when 2-3 cans are consumed so be in your limit keep it to 1 can when necessary,no need to ban i the drink ..
Dinesh Shivlani
Posted: June 03, 2009, 17:03

Red Bull should be banned immediately for the safety of all people's health.So, those who are fond of drinking REd Bull be 'AWARE'
Rey Manuel
Posted: June 03, 2009, 16:59

No need to ban anything. Who doesnt want to consume it, just simply doesnt consume it. Easy. Or we start to ban knifes, fast cars, cigarrettes, coffee, tea, lighters and matches (very dangerous) etc.
Markus Warmholz
Posted: June 03, 2009, 14:38

All these kinds of soft drinks are not helthy and the media should focus on it.and do not forget the choclet. and the list is long
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 03, 2009, 14:28

I used to drink while on late night driving especially from Dubai or Al Ain, it gives refreshments plus concentration on driving. If it contains any naurcautic substances sure I will withdraw the habit.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 03, 2009, 14:26

as Dr. Omar suggested to take Juices and a lot of water. here i will suggest the slight morning exercise keeps fresh as i myself epilipsy patient. i had stoped to take redbull; i feel dizzy mostly but when i want to remain fresh i do morning exercise
Posted: June 03, 2009, 14:04

I don't believe there are traces of cocaine in Red Bull. Guess it is blown out of proportions. By the way I saw here in a supermarket Red Bull Cola, so it is available in the UAE.
Hans Borst
Posted: June 03, 2009, 13:52

I have to question Dr Omar's statement or anyone's on calling for a ban on anything. What purpose would it serve other than enticing the youth to seek it out even more? Hasnt the same happened with other banned or restricted substances? Education is the solution, we do not live in the dark ages. If you are going to ban red bull, what about cigarrettes? They physically kill hundreds of thousands of people every year! Why not ban that first?
From A Reader
Posted: June 03, 2009, 13:47

sure, the UAE health department has to take step ban this product.
Posted: June 03, 2009, 13:45

Now i come to understand this giant brand, where it is getting its huge sales and marketing budgets. i want to ask about the after effect, i tried it many times, it has an awfull after effect.
Posted: June 03, 2009, 13:18

Noo way !!it cant have a drug in it..obviously i'm too young to drink it.. i'm 12 and i know in your age we're not supposed to drink.. but i just cant belive theres a DRUG in it !! and if there rlly is why did they sell it in the first place !!
Menna Badr
Posted: June 03, 2009, 13:17

I drink it almost daily (once a day) I must say it is addictive. If traces of illegal drug would be found , I wont be redbull's consumer.
Adnan Ansari
Posted: June 03, 2009, 12:56

no wonder!RED BULL gives you wings !!now i get it !
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 03, 2009, 12:47

I used this drink every day and in between I stopped for a month. No craving and no side effects. This is all propaganda....any way this is at least in my opinion...!!!
Abdul Rashid
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 03, 2009, 12:44

I wonder why lot of people prefer red bull rather than water while in gym, some serious thought needed.
Raghavendra Kulkarni
Posted: June 03, 2009, 12:28

Regarding concerns about heart-attack, energy drinks should not be consumed after or during intense workout, also people with heart related illness should not consume it at any time, that's clearly mentioned on the can. I drink one can daily, among other energy drinks, redbull is the best, I'd be saddened if they pull off the shelves.
Posted: June 03, 2009, 11:58

There have been some reports about death from consuming multiple cans of this energy seems that a heart attack was the cause.Cocaine does cause coronary spasm and eventually heart attack and it is a known complication for people who use it. I think Jordan has banned the energy soda.I beileve we should be safe than sorry and ban it .Drink water and fresh juice instead.
Dr Omar
Posted: June 03, 2009, 10:58

oh so that is why everybody looks dizzy these days?
Posted: June 03, 2009, 10:07