Food & Drink

Coke Busters: Urban Myths and Activist Attacks


Health concerns about Coca-Cola go back more than 100 years:

1911
The U.S. government sues Coca-Cola, claiming that caffeine is a poisonous additive. The “40 Barrels and 20 Kegs” case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, but by then Coke had lowered its caffeine content.
 
1950
Cornell University professor Clive McCay testifies before Congress that Coca-Cola can dissolve everything from teeth to the Capitol’s steps. It isn’t true.

Courtesy Killer Coke

2006
Labor activist Ray Rogers protests the death of eight employees of Coke bottlers in Colombia.

Courtesy Killer Coke

2009
New York City’s Department of Health plasters subway cars with anti-soda ads urging people not to “drink yourself fat.” Note the unmarked red bottle.

Courtesy Killer Coke

2012
The Center for Science in the Public Interest releases a video in which soda-guzzling polar bears get erectile dysfunction and diabetes.

2013
Healthy living advocate Ocean Roberts launches an online campaign to boycott Coca-Cola because it belongs to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which lobbies against labeling genetically modified organisms.

2013
Coca-Cola releases its first anti-obesity ad, saying “if you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you’ll gain weight. That goes for Coca-Cola and everything else with calories.”

2014
A Russian video, What Will Happen If You Boil Coke?, claims to show people how much “junk” is in a bottle of Coca-Cola. It has been viewed 18.6 million times on YouTube.

Suddath is a staff writer for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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