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Coca-Cola’s Five Darkest Secrets

Published on November 22, 2015 by   ·   No Comments

Coca-Cola is increasingly criticized for its use of unhealthy ingredients and poor business practices. In spite of its increasingly bad reputation, some details of its operations remain little-known. Here are five of Coke’s darkest secrets:

5. COCAINE

Coca-Cola was originally called Pemberton’s French Wine Coca and contained a mixture of Peruvian coca leaves, kola nut, damiana, and cocaethylene (cocaine mixed with alcohol). Druggist John Stith Pemberton invented his French Wine Coca in Atlanta, Georgia and it became very popular across the southeastern United States.

Once Atlanta introduced prohibition in 1886, Pemberton responded by creating a non-alcoholic version of his already popular beverage. The wine ingredient was replaced with sugar syrup and the new concoction was called Coca-Cola. The soda was marketed for its medicinal effects and became very popular among high-class white society. It was referred to by many as an “intellectual beverage.”

The Coca-Cola recipe was a closely guarded secret, but in 1891, an Atlanta newspaper reported what many had already suspected: Coca-Cola contained cocaine. Coke was forced to change its marketing strategy and began referring to their product as “refreshing,” rather than promoting any medicinal advantages. Coca-Cola began taking cocaine out its soft drink in 1903 because of racially-promoted fears among white society.

According to the New York Times:

“Anyone with a nickel, black or white, could now drink the cocaine-infused beverage. Middle-class whites worried that soft drinks were contributing to what they saw as exploding cocaine use among African-Americans. Southern newspapers reported that “negro cocaine fiends” were raping white women, the police powerless to stop them.”

Cocaine was eventually made illegal in the United States in 1914, but it wasn’t until 1929 that Coca-Cola perfected its formula. Before that year, the psychoactive elements of the coca leaf could still be found in the soda in small amounts. cocawine

 4. MERCHANDISE NO.5

The Coca-Cola soft drink became completely cocaine-free in 1929, but coca leaf extract is still used to this day as an active ingredient in the internationally popular soda. The ecgonine alkaloid, which gives cocaine its accelerating effect on the brain, is extracted from the coca leaf before processing.

The Stepan Corporation, a New Jersey-based chemical processing company, performs the extraction on the coca leaves. Stepan has an arrangement with the DEA and is the only group allowed to import the coca leaf into the United States. 175,000 kilograms of coca leaves are imported into the United States each year by Stepan. That is a street value equivalent to roughly $21 billion of cocaine, according to the United Nations.

So what happens to the actual cocaine processed by Stepan? It is hauled away from the facility in armored trucks and then sold to Mallinckrodt, a pharmaceutical company whose United States headquarters are based in St. Louis, Missouri. The coca leaf extract is referred to as Merchandise No. 5.

3. COLOMBIA

In 2001, a lawsuit was filed in a Miami federal court against the Coca-Cola corporation and two of their Latin American bottlers – Bebidas y Alimentos and Panamerican Beverages, Inc. (Panamco). The lawsuit was filed by the United Steelworkers Union and the International Labor Rights Fund. Oscar Dario Soto Polo and 8 other union members, who were workers at the previously stated bottling factories, had allegedly been assassinated by “death squads” at the time of the lawsuit.

Right-wing militias of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), Colombia’s leading paramilitary organization, carried out the killings. The AUC has strong ties with the Colombian military and is also silently backed by factions of the country’s business elite. The suit claimed a plant manager publicly proclaimed “he had given an order to the paramilitaries to carry out the task of destroying the union.” The assassinations were never in question, but Coca-Cola stated they were not responsible. A spokesperson for the Atlanta-based company said in 2001, “Coca-Cola denies any connection to any human-rights violation of this type.” The spokesman added, “We do not own or operate the plants.” The plants were in fact owned by a Mexican-based company called FEMSA.

According to the FEMSA website:

“FEMSA and The Coca-Cola Company have been long-term strategic partners since Coca-Cola FEMSA was created in 1993. FEMSA is the majority shareholder of Coca-Cola FEMSA, with 48.9% ownership of the outstanding capital stock and 63.0% of the voting rights. The Coca-Cola Company owns 28.7% of Coca-Cola FEMSA’s outstanding capital stock and 37.0% of the voting interest. Public shareholders own the remaining 22.4% of the outstanding capital stock (with limited voting rights).”

Read More HERE

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