For years fans of the American soft drink have wondered about one of the worlds most closely guarded trade secrets.What is the ingredient in the recipe of Coca Cola which gives it its unique flavour?
Well the PSNI might have their own theory after they discovered human waste in a shipment delivered to a Coca Cola factory in County Antrim.
They had been called to the premises in Lisburn where the suspected contaminated tins were found last week.
It is believed the cans were transported from Germany and there is no evidence they have reached the public.
The soft drinks company has said the production was immediately seized and does not affect any products on sale.
A spokesperson for Coca Cola said:
“At Coca-Cola, we take the safety and quality of our products extremely seriously.
“We are aware of an incident involving empty cans at our plant in Knockmore Hill, Lisburn.
“We are treating this matter extremely seriously and are conducting a thorough investigation in cooperation with the PSNI.
“The problem was identified immediately through our robust quality procedures and all of the product from the affected batch was immediately impounded and will not be sold.
“This is an isolated incident and does not affect any products currently on sale.”
The long story of Coke’s secret formula started in 1886 when John Pemberton, a veteran of the American Civil War with a serious morphine addiction, created the drink in the hope it would cure his ailment.
His initial creation, French Wine Coca, was a drink that included kola nut and coca wine but was banned after prohibition was introduced a few months after its invention.
He then reformulated the drink by removing the alcohol and adding cocaine, renaming it Coca Cola and selling it in pharmacies.
Cocaine wasn’t made illegal in the US until 1914 and the Coca-Cola available today still contains coca.
However the ecgonine alkaloid, which has a close structural to cocaine, is removed from it.
That extraction wasn’t perfected until 1929, and up until then there were still trace amounts of coca’s psychoactive elements in Coca Cola.
Nowadays the extraction is done at a New Jersey chemical processing facility by a company called Stepan.
Stepan import up to 175,000 kilograms of coca for Coca Cola annually which is enough to make more than $200 million worth of cocaine.
They refer to the coca leaf extract simply as “Merchandise No. 5.” and they sell it for medical purposes as a local anaesthetic in eye, nose and tear-duct surgery. It has the sole license in the USA to do it.