Coroner: Soft drinks may need health warnings

February 13, 2013 9:12:28 AM

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- A New Zealand food industry association on Wednesday rejected a coroner's call to add health warnings to soft-drink labels following the 2010 death of a woman who drank about 2 gallons of Coca-Cola a day. 

 

Coroner David Crerar issued a final report Tuesday into the death of 31-year-old Natasha Harris, concluding that the mother of eight died from a heart attack. He said the large amount of Coca-Cola she drank likely led to metabolic imbalances that gave rise to her heart problems, adding that Coke was likely a "substantial factor" in her death. 

 

But New Zealand Food & Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich said "there isn't a labeling regime in the world" that could have prevented the death of somebody who chose to drink Coke in such large quantities. 

 

The New Zealand branch of the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company, the world's largest beverage maker, disputed the coroner's findings, noting that experts could not agree on the most likely cause of Harris' death. 

 

Crerar recommended that soft-drink makers consider including caffeine levels also.