The cocaine was found at Coca-Cola’s Signes factory, near Marseille. Staff found sacks of the drug hidden among a delivery of orange juice concentrate from Costa Rica.
Investigators said they were trying to find the specific origin of the cocaine, but had already ruled out any involvement from employees at the Coca-Cola plant.
The discovery of 370kg of cocaine – which weighed the equivalent to almost 950 cans of Coca-Cola – was one of the largest finds in France’s history.
‘Authorities confiscated narcotics’
A spokesman for Coca-Cola told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We can confirm that authorities confiscated narcotics placed in a shipment of orange juice concentrate that arrived at the Coca-Cola facility in Signes, France, on August 26.
“Coca-Cola immediately contacted the Gendarmerie Nationale and is co-operating fully with the investigation. No associates are believed to be involved in the drug shipment.”
Toulon prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux described the event as “a very bad surprise”. He told local newspaper Ver-Martin: “The first elements of the investigation have shown that employees are in no way involved.”
£1M worth of cocaine in a box of bananas
The surprise delivery was not the first time a food or drink business made a discovery of illicit drugs. Last year, a Tesco member of staff found £1M worth of cocaine in a box of bananas. The company launched an investigation after the employee found the drugs in one of its Berkshire stores in January 2015.
Supermarket Aldi had a similar surprise last year when around £11M worth of cocaine was discovered after being sent by accident to 13 Aldi stores in Berlin in May 2015. Just five months earlier, a cocaine haul worth £5M was found in the same stores.
Coke at Coke
- 370kg of cocaine discovered at French Coca-Cola factory
- Estimated worth of €50M (£42M)
- Drugs stashed inside a delivery of orange juice concentrate