When a New Zealand woman died in February 2010, her family swiftly pointed fingers at her 2.2 gallon a day Coke habit. Not the white powdery stuff, the drinkable, cola-y stuff. And although it’s taken three years, a coroner has found that the beverage was a major factor in her death. Coca-Cola had pointed out last year that too much water is bad for you as well, so it’s not surprising that the company disagrees with the ruling.
The 30-year-old mother of eight guzzled a whole lot of Coke for years before her death, and the coroner said a bunch of her health problems could be connected to the “extreme” amounts she ingested daily. He said that consumption likely played a role in the cardiac arrhythmia that killed her, reports the AFP.
“I find that when all the available evidence is considered, were it not for the consumption of very large quantities of Coke by [the woman], it is unlikely that she would have died when she died and how she died,” he found. He added that her Coke habit “was a substantial factor that contributed to the development of the metabolic imbalances which gave rise to the arrhythmia.”
Although her family knew something wasn’t right — she’d “go crazy if she ran out,” her mother-in-law said last year — they figured her habit wasn’t dangerous because Coke doesn’t display any health warnings.
As such, the coroner suggested “that Coca-Cola give consideration to the inclusion of advice as to quantity of caffeine on labels (in) its products and… adding appropriate warnings related to the dangers of consuming excessive quantities of the products.”
Despite that, he admitted that since everything in Coke is legal, the company can’t be held responsible for consumer health if they’re going to choose to drink “unhealthy quantities of the product.”
Coca-Cola responded to the coroner’s finding in a statement, saying since experts couldn’t agree on what caused her heart attack and the coroner couldn’t be certain what was behind it, the company shouldn’t be blamed.
“Therefore we are disappointed that the coroner has chosen to focus on the combination of [the woman’s] excessive consumption of Coca-Cola, together with other health and lifestyle factors, as the probable cause of her death,” it said in a statement.