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Health Ministry: Coke is safe

JERUSALEM, July 12 (JTA) — Israel’s Health Ministry has reassured the public that Coca Cola is safe to drink. Local bottlers reported a more than 20 percent drop in sales of the popular soft drink last week after five members of a family in Rehovot became ill from drinking one bottle possibly contaminated with paint thinner. The five were hospitalized July 8, and released the next day, after doctors determined that whatever they drank was not life threatening. The ministry initially believed that the problem was limited to Rehovot.
But after more suspect bottles were found in other parts of the country, the ministry urged the public to sniff-test bottles of Coca Cola for possible contamination before tasting the soft drink. Coca Cola insisted that the bottles were contaminated outside the factories. After concluding a hasty investigation, the Health Ministry concurred, announcing at a news conference Sunday that Coke bottles had left the production lines without any defects and that some bottles were stored “improperly” at grocery stores.