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Monday, February 21, 2011

Israeli Muslim sues Coca Cola for putting alcohol in recipe

From Globes:
An Israeli Muslim filed a NIS 1.2 billion class action suit against The Central Bottling Company Group Ltd. (the Israel franchisee for Coca Cola) in the Jerusalem District Court today for compensation for mental anguish and infringing the independent choices of the individual.

The plaintiff, an Israeli Muslim, filed the suit following publication on the web last week of what is apparently the secret recipe of Coca Cola, and which allegedly contains alcohol. The class action suit was filed by Advs. Hani Tannus, Ofir Cohen, and Mahmud Machjana.

Alcohol is forbidden by Islam, and the plaintiff cites he has been unwittingly drinking alcohol for years. He therefore claims Coca Cola is guilty of misleading consumers, infringing the independent choices of the individual, and causing huge mental anguish.

The plaintiff says that his class action suit comprises NIS 1,000 compensation for each of the 1.2 million Muslims living in Israel.

The suit said, "This is one of the greatest deceptions in the history of consumer affairs, when a company ignores the existence of alcohol as an ingredient despite being aware that the Muslim world abstains from products like these. This is a very serious matter and it certainly won't be the last in the world in light of the fraud.
The "secret recipe" story came out last week when a public radio show noticed that one of the pages from Coca Cola's founder's notebook was visible in a 1979 newspaper article. Here's the alleged recipe.

Of course, if it is legitimate, that is a recipe from the late 19th century.

It is a bit crazy to assume that Coke contains alcohol today. The company admits this recipe might be an early version of the formula, but it is not close to what Coke is today.

Not only that, but Coke is manufactured in Muslim countries as well. As the Economic Times reports:
Coca-Cola has no alcohol in it, said the firm's manufacturer in Malaysia as it rubbished reports that the secret of the way it is prepared is out.

Coca-Cola Malaysia's public affairs and communications director Kadri Taib said alcohol was not an ingredient and no fermentation took place during the manufacture of the drink.

"The precise formulation of the drink is our company's most valuable trade secret.

"The ingredients and manufacturing process are rigorously regulated by government and health authorities in more than 200 countries, including Malaysia, which have consistently recognised the beverage as a non-alcoholic product," he said.

The clarification about alcohol is essential for the beverage manufacturer in the Muslim majority nation since Islam forbids it.

This isn't stopping the Arabic press from reporting that class-action lawsuits in all Muslim countries might put Coca Cola out of business.

The demand is for compensation of the Muslim Ummah for psychological and religious damages theyh have suffered as a result of drinking Coca-Cola, which contains a proportion of alcohol... and the teachings of the Islamic religion prohibits drinking alcohol.

Counsel explains that "the Muslim population in Israel, approximately 16%, were drinking Coca-Cola all the time without their knowledge that it contains alcohol, and this is what caused significant psychological damage after discovering the presence of alcohol.

"The Coca-Cola Company is deceiving consumers, particularly Muslims, for the past 150 years, and we demand compensation of 1000 shekels for every Muslim Arab citizen inside Israel, where the number of Muslims in Israel is 1.1879 million, so total of compensation is about 1.2 billion shekels."

If the Jerusalem District Court rules to compensate Muslims inside Israel 1.2 billion shekels, that will open the door to all the world's Muslims, estimated at about one billion Muslims, to bring cases against the Coca-Cola Company, which may have to declare bankruptcy to compensate those affected.
I guess we shouldn't tell them the secret behind Mecca Cola....