Coronavirus could spark Coca-Cola shortage over China-made ingredients

The drinks giant warned customers to anticipate possible “tighter supplies” as the virus continues to spread rapidly across the globe. The production of sugar substitutes used to make Diet Coke and Coke Zero is at risk of slowing down as China grapples with the deadly virus which has left more than 2,000 people dead. In its annual report released on Monday, the company wrote: “We have initiated contingency supply plans and do not foresee a short-term impact due to these delays.  

“However, we may see tighter supplies of some of these ingredients in the longer term should production or export operations in China deteriorate.”  

The sweeteners used to make the sodas contain aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, saccharin, cyclamate and steviol glycocides.  

It is not known which products have been affected by the outbreak.  

“We do not expect any impact to our customers or consumers in Great Britain at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt as needed as the situation evolves.”

While the American market could suffer as a result of the shortages, the firm does not expect Australia to be affected.  

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola said British consumers should not worry as they are not likley to be impacted. 

They said the firm would continue to monitor developments and provide updates, where appropriate. 

They said: “We do not expect any impact to our customers or consumers in Great Britain at this time.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt as needed as the situation evolves.”

In a press release published on Friday, Coca-Cola said it had taken action to try to prevent its workers in China from getting sick.  

The company wrote: “The company has implemented precautionary measures to protect employees in China, which includes providing face masks and hand sanitisers; installing temperature screening in offices and manufacturing facilities; and setting up health monitoring mechanisms across the Coca-Cola system in China.  

“China ranks as the third-largest market in the world for The Coca-Cola Company in terms of unit case volume.”  

A spokesman for Coca-Cola Australia said consumers Down Under should not be alarmed.  

He said: “We are confident in our supply chain as we have limited sourcing from China and there will not be any impact on Australian consumers.  

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“As matters of routine, we maintain business continuity plans throughout the world including maintaining alternative procurement sources in other regions of the world.”  

On Wednesday the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the number of people infected with coronavirus had risen to 80,980.  

The overall death toll in mainland China stands at 2,715.  

Also on Wednesday, South Korea reported 115 new cases.  

The Asian country now has 1,261 cases of the deadly virus.  

Eleven people have died in the country as a result of the sickness.  

Among those infected, is a 23-year-old US soldier based in South Korea.  

The developments came a day after Brazil became the first Latin American country to confirm someone had tested positive for coronavirus.  

Local reports said the 61-year-old man had recently returned from virus-hit northern Italy.  

Italy remains Europe’s worst-hit nation, with 322 cases confirmed. 

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