Coke shuts tap on Dasani in UK
Plans for France, Germany also delayed
LONDON, England (CNN) -- Coca-Cola has shelved plans to re-introduce its Dasani bottled water in Britain and roll out the brand in France and Germany.
The announcement comes only a week after the company pulled Dasani from British stores when levels of bromate -- a potential cancer-causing agent -- were found to exceed UK legal standards.
Coca-Cola launched Dasani in Britain amid much fanfare, but it faced immediate embarrassment in the press when it was revealed the product was processed tap water produced in a factory in southeast London.
Though using tap water is not uncommon in the bottled-water industry, UK trading standards officials investigated the company over its use of the word "pure" on bottles of Dasani.
Government officials had contacted the local authority covering Coca-Cola's headquarters in west London, asking it to look into whether the term breached labeling regulations. (Full story)
In announcing its decision Tuesday not to re-introduce Dasani in Britain for now, Coca-Cola also said it also "decided to postpone the introduction of the Dasani brand in France and Germany, as the timing is no longer considered optimal."
Last week, the company voluntarily recalled an estimated 500,000 bottles of Dasani in the UK after samples were found to contain bromate at higher levels than legally permitted in Britain for either bottled or tap water. (Full story)
The U.S. soft drinks giant said it had consulted Britain's food quality watchdog, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which had confirmed there was "no immediate health or safety issue."
In a statement last week the company said: "To ensure that only products of the highest quality are provided to our consumers, Coca-Cola is voluntarily withdrawing all Dasani products currently in the marketplace in UK.
"Calcium is a legal requirement in all bottled water products in the UK, including Dasani. To deliver the required calcium, we add back calcium chloride into the product.
"Through detailed analysis, we discovered that our product did not meet our quality standards. Because of the high level of bromide contained in the calcium chloride, a derivate of bromide, bromate, was formed at a level that exceeded UK legal standards. This occurred during the ozonisation process we employ in manufacturing."
"Our consumers rightly expect that our products meet only the highest possible standards for quality as well as all UK regulations," the company added.
A spokeswoman for the FSA told the UK's Press Association: "This is a sensible measure by the company as bromate is a chemical that could cause an increased cancer risk as a result of long-term exposure, although there is no immediate risk to public health.
"However, the agency understands that some consumers may choose not to drink any Dasani they purchased prior to its withdrawal, given the levels of bromate it contains."
British limits for bromate, a non-metallic salt, in bottled and tap waters are 10 parts per billion, a Coca-Cola spokesman told Reuters, and the Dasani samples had tested at between "borderline" (about 10) and 22 parts per billion. European tap water limits are 25 parts per billion.
Dasani had been selling in Britain for up to 95 pence ($1.74) for a 500 ml bottle.
Dasani has been tremendously successful in the United States, where it ranks second in the bottled water market.