Red Bull has made it no secret that it includes coca leaves – the botanical origin of the drug cocaine – in the beverage’s all-natural formulation, but insists that there’s none of the naughty stuff left behind. German officials aren’t too sure, and they have banned the sale of Red Bull Simply Cola in six states.
For those of you thinking about stocking up, don’t get too excited. At 0.13 micrograms per can, you’d have to drink enough Red Bull Cola to fill a small tanker truck before feeling anything that resembled a drug-like effect.
And that’s if the substance found in the cola is even capable of inducing a high. Fritz Soergel, the head of the Institute for Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research in the city of Nuremberg, told TIME that the discovered substance isn’t even cocaine itself, just a degradation of the original chemical that has no effect on the human body.
A German Red Bull spokesman insisted that there is no scientific basis for the ban, and noted that the products have been labeled as safe in the U.S. and Europe.
But we may now have to wonder: if Red Bull Cola picks up a strong following with the late-night club crowd, is it due to marketing or its “special” ingredient.