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Court bans sale of energy drink Cocaine

TT/Christine Demsteader · 28 Nov 2009, 09:08

Published: 28 Nov 2009 09:08 GMT+01:00

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The Environmental Court of Appeal in Höganäs decided on Friday that the drink, marketed by a company from nearby Helsingborg, cannot be sold in Sweden.

The court’s decision was based on a number of reasons including the absence of warning labels on the product indicating its high caffeine content.

The drink, which has its origins in Las Vegas, Nevada contains three times as much caffeine as competitor Red Bull.

In addition, the court ruled the name was misleading to consumers and, having failed to register its operations to the court, a 20,000 kronor fine was slapped on the company.

It was further revealed that the drink contains D-Ribose, a sugar supplement targeted towards bodybuilders to improve endurance, or patients with chronic fatigue.

”This is not an approved substance in food provisions in Europe,” said Jan Sjögren, group manager at Sweden’s National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket), the authority who sought to ban the sale of the drink.

”I don’t have much more knowledge about it but can speculate that it's a type of sugar.”

The attempt to introduce the drink to Swedish consumers has already aroused much debate. A number of supermarket chains stated they would refuse to stock the drink.

“It has an enormously high caffeine content and a very provocative name,” said Christina Karlsson, dietician for supermarket ICA. ”We decided we would not to sell it in our shops.”

Story continues below…

The Skåne-based company who have the right to import the product agree the name is contentious. Yet, co-owner Annica Olofsson adds that responsibility lies with the consumer, not the court.

”You only get one body in this life and it’s up to individuals how they want to take care of it,” she said.

TT/Christine Demsteader (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:26 November 28, 2009 by Nemesis
A very good and sensible decision.

These drinks screw people up.

There is no need for such high levels of stimulants in a soft drink.

If someone needs this level of stimulant in a soft drink they should see a doctor.
11:21 November 28, 2009 by byke
I really hope the court decision was based on product content and not product branding.
11:27 November 28, 2009 by Gwrhyr
I hate energy drinks and I think this drink is stupid, but I agree with Annica Olofsson.

When I saw new signs stating that all energy drinks are now banned for people under eighteen at Coop I was so annoyed. If Sweden is seirous about becoming drug-free they need to ban coffee and make sure any family that partakes in the junkie-ritual of fika has their children taken away from them.
11:34 November 28, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Gwrhyr

The caffeine content of the drink, is equivalent to some caffeine medicines. It is literally way to high.

One can is about 8 coffees. It is to much to give to a teenager as one drink.

Also D-Ribose is not approved in Europe. It can not get past regulatory hurdles. No one needs untested chemicals in drinks aimed at teenagers and young adults.
13:46 November 28, 2009 by Gwrhyr
I couldn't care less about Cocaine, it's just trying to push all boundaries to generate quick revenue for its developers, but I am still annoyed at banning all energy drinks for under-18's. Since Cocaine was banned, the ban on the other energy drinks for under-18's has nothing to do with d-ribose or high caffeine content. It's all about moral-panic and how drinks will destroy society and cause the public health bill to skyrocket.

Also, D-Ribose can and probably will eventually get past the regulators. Livsmedelsverket simply will not tolerate anything named Cocaine and will not tolerate new energy drinks with all the moral panic against energy drinks lately. Most of the legal action against Cocaine in the USA from the FDA has also been about its name and not about its content.

Also, I just looked it up and Cocaine has the amount of caffeine found in three cups of coffee, not 8.
14:08 November 28, 2009 by glamshek
This is a good decision.

What about eating port that is peroven to be a VERY BAD DIET.

People use it in daily routine and that is also increasing the health budget.
14:28 November 28, 2009 by byke
It appears that the most ammusing issue with these drinks at present is based on product names.

In the USA, they sell a drink called cocaine but have banned a similar drink called pussy.

In parts of Europe they sell a drink called pussy, but have banned a drink called Cocaine.

Branding should have no role in government legislation.

If businesses want to take a moral high ground and try to influence their own social values, then so be it.

But the role of government is not to hinder the use of description.
18:43 November 28, 2009 by karex
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me there is no national ban on energy drinks for under 18-year.-olds here in Sweden. It's the resail companies who have started to refuse to sell to under 18s. eller hur?

I for one am very glad that here in Europe what is sold for consumption seems to be more closely watched than in the US. The FDA in my opinion should scruitinize their foods as much as they concentrate on their drugs. For one thing, no one has looked into the amount of hormones in the American beef, pork and chicken products. Medication used to fatten up the herds for maximum profit, but which surely stays in the meat when sold and is then consumed by people.

I'm no nutricionist but I am convinced that one of the main reasons Americans are so obese is that they are poisoning themselves with their regular groceries. Even those people who do their best to eat sensibly still gain a lot of weight.

I have Swedish colleagues who spent a couple of years working in the US and despite continuing their eating and exercise habits as they did here in Sweden still come back 10-15 kg heavier. I am convinced the problem is in the basic ingredients, and all the hidden substances they contain.

I won't even get into the transgenics...
20:16 November 28, 2009 by Rebel
Thank goodness this product is banned and safe products like alcohol and tobacco are readily available.
20:26 November 28, 2009 by Gwrhyr
Karex, I never said there was a national ban, but there is a widespread retail ban, and it was not done as a result of any authority in Sweden watching food substances closely. If that were the case the 18-year old limit would have been implemented from the beginning, not after the Swedish press decided to run fear-mongering stories about it.

I agree with you fully that the FDA ought to be stricter about foods in the USA. I agree wholeheartedly with that. But what's going on with energy drinks in Sweden has nothing to do with their ingredients and everything to do with moral-panic.

And the thought that Livsmedelsverket sought to ban Cocaine due to its ingredients and not due to its name is ludricous. Livsmedelsverket is not all that different from the FDA. Why else is there so much aspartame and margarine all over this country, just as in the USA?
20:28 November 28, 2009 by Mr. Puppy
Rebel took the words right out of my mouth.
23:51 November 28, 2009 by Hamish
phew!!! that was lucky straight after drinking one of these i was going straight to cocaine

how about a age limit on the other product first you muppets its the school kids that we need to worry about as that is the ones that have trouble learning when high on caffeine and have drunk 4 cans a day!!!
14:52 November 29, 2009 by Rick Methven
The ban on energy drinks for youngsters is down to not only the inherent dangers of caffeine and high sugar content but also the use of energy drinks mixed with alcohol.

Under 18's do get alcohol and then tend to spread the cost of illicit alcohol by mixing it with energy drinks such as Red Bull.

The mix of the depressant effect of Alcohol with the lift of the sugar and caffeine can be a killer especially on younger people.

Once they are legally an adult, they can make their own choice but until then, the action of the shops like COOP and ICA may just save a few lives.

I have seen with my own eyes the effect of the lethal mix of vodka and Red Bull
23:23 November 29, 2009 by norling
Young people today are nuts, drinking pussy and cocaine!! Why in my day we ate pussy and snorted cocaine.
03:10 November 30, 2009 by Davey-jo
You call a drink Cocaine and you don't put any in it? How can you hope to prosper? It's a business disaster. What's that you say; Coca Cola used to actually have cocaine in it; never get away .....
09:06 November 30, 2009 by Da Goat
yep you can suck a pussy but not take cocaine!

I just love the comments so far

but yes people are crazy what they will imbibe

the worst thing is what karex pointed out we eat enough rubbish (hidden crap) in our food without having to drink this stuff.........then again we eat rubbish in our food then we feel rubbish and then we need this rubbish to feel normal again!

one poison to compensate for another poison . Are we mad or what?
23:57 December 2, 2009 by loveCocaineEnergyDrink
This is not about the energy drink this is about the name. I have tried a few of the Cocaine drinks and I love them! They taste better than Redbull and Monster. Cocaine gives you energy and with the simple sugars you don't crash like with the other ones.

If people don't need caffeine why is the energy drink industry hitting towards the 10 billion mark. Why are there endless coffee houses world wide.

So the name is Cocaine like the drug, are people too stupid to realize it's just a name. Apparently so.
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