Recent events are reason to make the public doubt one of the latest escapades which have taken place in France.
A shipment which arrived from Costa Rica, inside a container that was expected to contain nothing more than orange juice cartoons for the Coca-Cola plant, it appears to consist of cocaine which has been discovered in “a phenomenal amount, close to the seizures of record of French soil”.
Weighting around 370 kg, the cargo presumed to have contained several hidden packs has now been safely stocked in the Le Havre port in France.
Although the Coca-Cola staff has been excluded from the entire fiasco and appear to have no involvement whatsoever, the incident is still considered suspicious enough through the eyes of prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux who continues to classify this “very bad surprise” as an expensive one which is worth about €50 million Euros ($55m).
Despite the fact that no suspect is currently restrained by the French authorities, the last seizure of cocaine – an amount of 250 kg from April 2015 managed undoubtedly to raise suspicions regarding both the roles and the connections that the Coca-Cola facility benefits from.
Even though what we have come to know today as being the Coca-Cola beverage, back in the days it’s original name and texture was far more different than its known as nowadays.
Being established as the Pemberton’s French Wine Coca by Atlanta pharmacist John Stith Pemberton, the drink was mostly conceived from a variety of ingredients which include coca leaves, Peruvian , kola nut, damiana, and cocaethylene (cocaine mixed with alcohol) – a drink which very easily gained popularity across the southern states of the United States.
But, Coca-Cola has long been dragged into controversy. Being forced by the 1886 prohibition, through the replacement of wine with (healthier?) sugar syrup, “Coca-Cola: The temperance drink “appears to be Pemberton’s result of a non-alcoholic beverage. Although the recipe did remain a secret until 1891, it was then brought to the public’s attention that in fact, its main ingredient was based on cocaine.
Coca-Cola was no longer a patent medicine, but, according to the Atlanta paper, rather a “dope” soda, one which people already knew contained cocaine.
Although, at first it began to be known in the marketing sphere for its medicinal effects as an “intellectual beverage” for white folk in general, after a while it started to change its approach towards the public by focusing more on its “refreshing” image.
The approach of different marketing strategies was the only solution for Asa G. Candler – then owner of the business – to save the brand from further controversy.
Based on Grace Elizabeth Hale’s statement for The New York Times, she explains:
“Anyone with a nickel, black or white, could now drink the cocaine-infused beverage. Middle-class whites worried that soft drinks were contributing to what they saw as exploding cocaine use among African-Americans. […] Candler had bowed to white fears (and a wave of anti-narcotics legislation), removing the cocaine and adding more sugar and caffeine.”
Long before 1929 when Coca-Cola perfected its recipe, ever since 1903, the organization started to dismiss cocaine from the soft drink, thus, eliminating any current fears of promoting racial discrimination and any type of social injustice amongst the public.
No matter how much we may tend to deny it, or have the capacity to admit, the Coca-Cola that we drink nowadays still contains slight elements of coca – but the ecgonine alkaloid is removed from it. Along with its complete removal from the formula, cocaine could no longer have any accelerating effect on the brain.
A New Jersey chemical processing company called The Stepan Corporation is responsible for the extraction of cocaine from coca leaves. With an estimated number of 175,000 kg of coca leaves per year, Stepan Corporation is the only group to have an arrangement with the DEA, which allows it to import coca into the U.S. for a rough sum of about $21 billion of cocaine.
Being referred to as “Merchandise No.5”, the remaining substance extracted from coca leaf is then carefully transported in armored trucks and sold to Mallinckrodt, St. Louis, Missouri- the only company within the United States that is currently allowed and licensed to purify the product for further medicinal use.
”We purchase a crude extract and purify it further into one chemical form, cocaine hydrochloride U.S.P.”- is the official statement made by one of the members of the Mallinckrodt corporation.
The end product is then sold to hospitals and doctors ”primarily as a local anesthetic used by eye and ear, nose and throat specialists,” she said.