Authorities in the German states of Hesse and North-Rhine Westphalia have ordered retailers to stop selling Red Bull Cola after they found traces of cocaine in the fizzy drink.
The consumer ministries in the two states confirmed on Friday they had ordered retailers to pull the drink off their shelves after a food safety institute in North-Rhine Westphalia found cocaine in samples of the beverage.
“The institute examined Red Bull Cola in an elaborate chemical process and found traces of cocaine,” Bernhard Kühnle, head of the food safety department at the federal ministry for consumer protection said.
Authorities said the cocaine levels do not pose a health threat but are not permitted in foodstuffs.
The Frankfurter Neuen Presse reported that the investigation was prompted by the use of a de-cocainized extract of coca leaf in the drink. That means the drink cannot be classified as a foodstuff but as a narcotic and needs a special license, authorities said.