MPs puzzle locals with ban on ‘Cola secret formula’

Citing health concerns, a regional parliament in Russia has added Coca-Cola and Red Bull to the list of things shops cannot sell to children.

Starting January, teens in the Southern Krasnodar region are banned from buying and even drinking in public all soft drinks with ‘synthetic caffeine’ or other tonic compounds, reports Gazeta.ru website.

The controversial move is the latest in the long string of acts meant to strip schools of unhealthy food. In 2007, local authorities prohibited the sale of alcohol drinks and tonics near schools, kindergartens and hospitals, which was mostly welcomed by parents. However this year’s regulations left most people bewildered.

Health authorities argued children are not mature enough to limit their soft drinks consumption, and it could result in health risks.

“Producers forget everything in the pursuit of profit! Cola certainly is harmful in every way,” said Krasnodar region health official Svetlana Burkut. “Even though caffeine concentration is low there, it contains herbal extracts, and they don’t even tell which.”

The region’s residents do not agree.

“That’s ridiculous. You can’t help kids’ health with measures like this. They’d better promote healthy lifestyle and sponsor sport gyms,” said one of the locals.

Some critics claim the ban was lobbied by a local soft drink producer. Their drink does not contain caffeine and is sold in the region without restrictions, they say.

Meanwhile the controversial regulation has been revised by Russia’s Supreme Court after a request by The Coca Cola Company. The court ruled to lift the ban, but the news website says Krasnodar authorities haven’t been notified yet.