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Coke Withdraws Bottled Water From U.K.

Mar 20, 2004 | AP

The Coca-Cola Co. said Friday it is withdrawing its Dasani bottled water from sale in Britain after finding that samples contained higher than permitted levels of the chemical bromate.

A Coca-Cola spokesman said the voluntary withdrawal was a precautionary measure. Only Britain was affected.

"We haven't yet confirmed when and how we'll be back in the market," spokesman Jonathan Chandler said. "We'll make a communication on the next steps when we're ready to make them."

The Food Standards Agency said there was no immediate risk to public health, and described Coca-Cola's decision to stop selling Dasani in Britain as "sensible." It said bromate can cause an increased cancer risk as a result of long-term exposure.

Coca-Cola, which launched Dasani in Britain last month, said the higher than permitted levels of bromate occurred as a result of a process aimed at adding calcium to its bottled water.

"We do understand the problem and have a solution for it," Chandler said.

The withdrawal began Friday and was expected to be 80 percent to 85 percent complete within 24 hours, Coca-Cola said.

The U.K. requires calcium to be added to the water, said Kelly Brooks, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based company. Calcium is not added to U.S. Dasani and recent testing by an independent lab indicated no detectible bromate levels, Brooks said.

Dasani suffered a rash of bad publicity earlier this month when British newspapers discovered that the product was purified tap water something Coke had always acknowledged. Following the newspaper stories, the Food Standards Agency said it was inquiring whether Coke was entitled to use the term "pure" in describing Dasani.

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