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 (see related ebook on 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.
In time, 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?
Unfortunately, this 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. If you find this article interesting, be sure to also read 'Satire: the unauthorized history of Coca-Cola.'
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 cancer.