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Red Bull Cola Contains Cocaine?

Other Beverage

Time Magazine is reporting that Red Bull Cola contains cocaine.


The [Health Institute in the state of North Rhine Westphalia] examined Red Bull Cola in an elaborate chemical process and found traces of cocaine.

Our Energyologist Jeff is down to 85 pounds and wearing Hammer pants, but I thought that was from drinking Pepsi Max. The thought didn’t even cross my mind that it was the cocaine in the Red Bull Cola.

According to this analysis, the 0.13 micrograms of cocaine per can of the drink does not pose a serious health threat – you’d have to drink 12,000 liters of Red Bull Cola for negative affects to be felt – but it was enough to cause concern.

Drinking 12,000 liters sounds right up Jeff’s alley, though if you did drink 12,000 liters of Red Bull Cola, I’m thinking you’d be feeling more than the cocaine.

Red Bull defended it’s cola by saying, “De-cocainized extract of coca leaf is used worldwide in foods as a natural flavoring.”

Forget this report; if you haven’t tried Red Bull Cola for yourself, you should give it a shot. It isn’t your typical cola for sure, with a lot more complexity than Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Red Bull Cola is far more cinnamon and sweet spice, and is flavored with galangal, vanilla, mustard seed, lime, kola nut, cocoa, liquorice, cinnamon, lemon, ginger, coca leaf, orange, corn mint, pine, cardamom, mace and clove.


It is made with REAL sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. Yes, Red Bull Cola is real deal. The cocaine discovery seems to be more about “gotcha” than anything else, though it does make for a great headline.

UPDATE from Red Bull
Red Bull has sent out a press release responding to this situation. Here is what they had to say:

De-cocainized coca leaf extracts are used as flavoring in food products around the world and are considered to be safe. Indeed, in 21 C.F.R. 182.20, the Food and Drug Administration regulations provide that it is acceptable and safe to use de-cocainized coca in food products in the United State. Red Bull Simply Cola and other food products containing such extracts may therefore be sold legally in the US. Other countries have similarly recognized the safety of using the ingredient.

Although only de-cocainized coca leaf extracts are used in Red Bull Simply Cola, we take the German authority’s concerns seriously and had our product analyzed by an independent accredited institute which has confirmed that alkaloids (cocaine) from the coca leaf are not detectable in our product. Further, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) confirmed publicly that the ingredients contained in Red Bull Simply Cola present no risk to human health and no risk of any undesired pharmacological effects including, any potential narcotic effects.


  1. Jeff | Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    After hearing this news I’ve stocked my office full of Red Bull Cola in both anticipation that it’ll get pulled off the shelves and just out of overwhelming excitement to see what happens when I drink 64 cans.

  2. beerme | Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    And they think this is a bad thing?? Even more reason to buy it!

  3. Alan Kropf | Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    Exactly! Jeff came to PARTY!

  4. Pepsi False Rumor Alert | Mutineer Magazine | Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    […] the second of my non-alcoholic blog trifecta (cocaine isn’t alcohol people!), Pepsi is still trying to shoot down rumors that Pepsi released patriotic themed cans of cola […]

  5. Rachel | Saturday, August 1, 2009

    I think the best part about this is that my workplace has these STOCKED for employees to take ha ha. Way to get up those sales with super-energized employees. I applaud the effort.

  6. Energy Shot | Friday, August 20, 2010

    The red bull cola does contain a small amount of cocaine, but i guess its harmless unless you over drink it

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