There is nothing quite like the sugary rush that accompanies a cold bottle of Coca-Cola – but did you know that the aptly-named Coke used to delivery an even bigger kick? Until 1903, the world-famous soft drink contained a significant dose of cocaine.

cocaine coca-cola
Photo by purpleslog, Flickr

While the Coca-Cola Company officially denies the presence of cocaine in any of its products – past of present – historical evidence suggests that the original Coca-Cola did, in fact, contain cocaine. Now, the two go hand-in-hand once again due to an interesting bit of news coming out of France.

A staggering amount of coke found at a Coke plant

While soft-drink king Coca-Cola may have removed the cocaine from its beverage over a century ago, a local French newspaper reports that 370 kilograms (850 pounds) of the drug have been found in the company’s plant in southern France.

The cocaine seized has a street value of almost 50 million euros (almost $56 million), according to French publication Var-Martin, which cites Marseille’s prosecution service.

The cocaine was seized at a Coca-Cola plant in Signes, France, north of Toulon. The drugs were found on Friday inside of a container delivered from an orange juice supplier from Costa Rica.

The plant in Signes produces concentrates for various drinks made by the beverage giant. A spokesperson for Coca-Cola France says employees immediately notified authorities, who have since opened up an official investigation.

Jean-Denis Malgras, the regional president of the Coca-Cola Company, described the discovery as a “very nasty surprise.” Employees at the Coca-Cola plant in Signes have been ruled out of any possible involvement as officials in France are investigating the origin of the drug.

“The first elements of the investigation have shown that employees are in no way involved,” says Malgras.

Coca-Cola was (is still?) an aptly named soft drink

While the modern-day recipe for Coca-Cola is a highly prized company secret, there is reason to believe that the beverage still contains the same non-narcotic coca-leaf extract that it did in 1904. According to the New York Times, the Coca-Cola Company was continuing to import coca leaves from Peru and Bolivia until at least the late 1980s.

When first launched at the end of the 19th century, a glass of Coke was estimated to contain around nine milligrams of cocaine. In 1904, the company replaced the “ingredient” with a cocaine-free coca leaf extract. Or at least that’s what they tell us.