Coca-Cola's Dasani brand of bottled water was found to have illegally
high levels of bromate, a cancer-causing chemical, say company
executives in the UK. Coca-Cola, which had called their water, "as pure
as bottled water gets," immediately recalled 500,000 bottles. It is, of
course, a public relations disaster for the company, which has been
trying to develop new markets other than soft drinks.
So what's the
real story? For years, Coca-Cola has stood adamantly against consumers
buying water. In the United States, the company even ran a campaign
called, "Just say no to H2O" with Olive Garden restaurants that trained
waters to push soft drinks onto guests who might otherwise have only
wanted to drink water. Prizes and free trips were given away to the
waiters who sold the most soft drinks to customers.
however, Coca-Cola realized it couldn't fight the trend towards water
forever, so it came up with its own water brand. But instead of bottling
spring water, Coca-Cola decided to bottle tap water. That's right: the
very same water you get out of your kitchen faucet. Only Coca-Cola
purified the water and then added in a minute amount of minerals. They
then sold the water at enormous markups: as much as 300,000% (not a
typo) over the original price for the water. That's the Coca-Cola way,
it seems: take a bunch of really cheap ingredients, slap on a pretty
label, and push it to the public at extraordinary markups. Heck, it
worked for soft drinks, why not water, too?
process of purifying the water turns out to be less than ideal, in this
case at least, since the Dasani water was found to be contaminated with
bromate. The lesson here is that there's no water as pure as spring
water. If you want to drink bottled water, shop for water that's bottled
at the source, from natural springs, without any added ingredients.
I should point out that every Dasani bottling plant operates on a
different water source, using different equipment. And this was a scare
in the UK, not the U.S., so just because high levels of bromate were
found in the UK products doesn't mean they're present in the States. But
the point is valid: tap water is never as good as spring water, no
matter how you process it.
Dasani, the tap water bottled by Coca-Cola and marketed as specially
pure with a huge publicity campaign, was withdrawn from the market
yesterday after impurities were found to have been introduced in the
The water, which was launched two weeks ago, labelled prominently as
"pure" and referred to by Coke executives as "as pure as bottled water
gets", was found to have illegally high levels of bromate, a chemical
which the Food Standards Agency said could lead to an increased risk of
Last night it was withdrawing all 500,000 bottles of Dasani - sales of
which had been expected to reach £35m in its first year - which had
arrived on high-street shelves.
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