“Amazing Fact #3
U.S. law grants the Coca-Cola company a unique exemption to import coca leaves while prohibiting anyone else from importing what might otherwise become a popular superfood.
Coca leaves have been chewed and consumed as tea for thousands of years in the high Andes. They are rich in many essential nutrients; they ease respiratory and digestive distress and are a natural stimulant and painkiller. Indigenous tradition and scientific studies have both confirmed that in their natural form, the leaves are completely safe and non-addictive—it takes intensive processing and toxic chemical ingredients to produce cocaine. That’s why more and more cocacontaining products have started to hit the market in Andean countries in the past few years.
Yet the United States still aggressively pursues an eradication policy that encourages Andean governments to spray their forests with toxic chemicals to eliminate this medicinal crop. It is illegal to import or possess the leaves under U.S. law—unless you’re the Coca-Cola company.
In an effort to preserve the traditional flavor of the best-selling drink, the company long ago convinced the U.S. government to exempt it from the law. But don’t worry: the chemicals that can be used to make cocaine—and that provide many of the leaves’ benefits—have all been removed from Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola, by the way, used to literally contain cocaine in its original formula. The practice was halted in 1903, but the name persisted. The “coca” part of “coca-cola” is derived from the coca plant, and the “kola” comes from the kola nut which also flavored the original beverage.”