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Fri, Mar 26, 2004 - Page 12 News List

Coca-Cola postpones release of its not-so-pure water

AP , LONDON

The Coca-Cola Co announced Wednesday that it would postpone the introduction of its Dasani bottled water in France and Germany.

The move came as the company withdrew the product from sale in Britain last week after finding that samples contained higher than permitted levels of the chemical bromate. The drink also was criticized here for being advertised as "pure" when it is processed tap water produced at a factory in southeast London.

In its announcement Wednesday, Coke said it would postpone the reintroduction of Dasani bottled water in the British market.

In a statement, Coke said: "Following the voluntary withdrawal in Great Britain last week of Dasani due to a quality issue, it has decided not to reintroduce Dasani into Great Britain at this time.

"Although this is an isolated and resolved incident in Great Britain, the Coca-Cola Company ... has also decided to postpone the introduction of the Dasani brand in France and Germany, as the timing is no longer considered optimal."

When Dasani was voluntarily removed from the British market, Coke had said it was a precautionary measure.

Britain's Food Standards Agency had 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 long-term exposure to bromate could cause an increased cancer risk.

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.

Britain requires calcium to be added to the water, Coke said then, adding that it is not added to US Dasani and recent testing by an independent lab indicated no detectible bromate levels.

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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