Pollutant Taints Coke’s Bottled Water in U.K.

Coca-Cola’s attempts to enter the burgeoning U.K. bottled-water market have gone, shall we say, less than swimmingly. The story begins with the debut of Dasani bottled water in the U.K. two weeks ago, accompanied by a massive Coke PR push labeling it “as pure as bottled water gets.” Shortly thereafter, it was revealed that Coke’s southeast London bottling plant was using tap water already renowned for its purity and marking up the price by some 300,000 percent. Next, the company’s self-described “highly sophisticated purification process,” allegedly based on NASA spacecraft technology, was exposed as reverse osmosis, a simple process used in virtually all domestic water-purification units. But wait, it gets worse. The main event occurred last Friday, when Coke admitted that in the process of adding calcium to its water, it inadvertently polluted it with bromate, a chemical suspected of causing cancer. The company then announced a full recall of all 500,000 bottles already on the shelves. Ouch.