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Red Bull sales soar after German cocaine ban

By Thomas Hochwarter

Sales of Red Bull Cola have rocketed after authorities in five German provinces banned it after finding traces of cocaine in the drink.

Pub owners and nightclub managers in Austria said today (Mon) sales figures have quadrupled since German authorities took the drink off the shelves last week.

And more drinkers are asking for Red Bull in mixed drinks too, it was reported.

While German authorities are still to announce examination results, Austrian food agency AGES said cocaine traces have been found in the drink in Austria as well.

But AGES said the amount was almost unnoticeable while the levels found in the product in Germany meant the energy drink lost its status as a foodstuff and became subject to the German Narcotics Act.

The Austrian Health Ministry said there was no danger of becoming addicted to the drink, but added that further steps were being considered.

A spokesman for the Salzburg-based company said: "Coca leaf extracts, without the active ingredient of cocaine, are used worldwide for food flavourings and are completely safe."

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