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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 March, 2004, 22:51 GMT
Dasani UK delay cans Europe sales
Outside the UK, Dasani is proving a popular thirst quencher
Coca-Cola has put off plans to sell its Dasani water in Europe following a contamination scandal which forced it to pull 500,000 bottles off UK shelves.

The company has also canned the idea of reintroducing the product to the UK.

Dasani disappeared from the shops in mid-March after it was found to have illegal levels of bromate.

Coca-Cola said it has "full confidence" in Dasani despite the setback, which followed news that Dasani was no more than treated and purified tap water.

The problems mean that a planned launch in France - seen as a key market - and Germany are now on hold.

And a UK relaunch is certainly off the cards for the moment, although it may come back in the future.

Teething troubles

The company, however, is optimistic that the early problems can be overcome.

"Dasani is a proven success story in other parts of the world and we see no reason why it could not be so in Europe," it said.

"But now is not the right time to bring it back to the market."

Analysts tend to agree, adding that the brand already may be too battered for a British revival.

From the tap

Dasani is a curious brew that is made from mains water at a factory in Sidcup, Kent.

Coca-Cola says that after being passed through a "highly sophisticated purification process" the drink is "as pure as bottled water gets".

Bromate, meanwhile, is described by the Food Standards Agency as "a chemical that could cause an increased cancer risk as a result of long-term exposure".

In a statement last week, Coca-Cola said the contamination had been initially caused by its regular practice of adding calcium to Dasani.

In this case, the calcium "did not meet our quality standards", the company admitted.

As a result, bromate went on to be formed during the manufacturing processes.

While there were no immediate safety fears, Coca-Cola decided on the recall.

The product's bromate levels were twice the legal limit in the UK - but were below Europe's higher limit.

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