|To drink or Not to drink?|
The soft drink companies seem worried that the sales of the beverages would be affected in Islamic countries and places where Muslims form a sizable chunk of the population, due to the renewed fears about presence of alcohol in the colas.
While the French magazine '60 Millions de Consummateurs' test results suggested alcoholic traces in colas, the companies insist that the cold drinks are essentially non-alcoholic with no such ingredient added during the preparation and the traces are often found in food also.
The level of alcoholic presence in some samples was below 0.001% or 10 mg per litre, which the companies say is negligible and shouldn't cause any confusion or anxiety among the Muslims. However, the news has generated diverse reactions amongst Muslims on the street.
There is no call though about ban on the drinks. The clergy has been silent. But there is apprehension that Muslims may avoid the drinks and switch to Islamic drinks or fruit juices. In Islam, consumption of alcohol is only permissible in extreme situation when it is required in the form of medicine.
The biggest markets are in India, which has a huge Muslim population, other than Gulf countries, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, England and in America. In Europe also, there is a growing Muslim population in France, Germany, Denmark, Holland and Russia.
The tests were conducted at the National Institute of Consumption (NIC) at Paris. Almost half of the cola drinks that were examined had minor alcohol traces. The companies insist that natural fermentation of fruits and processes can cause traces but alcohol has no place in the recipe and manufacturing process of their products.