Coke: Lead-Paint Lawsuit Is 'Outlandish'

Coca-Cola Co. (COKE), the world's No.1 soft drink company, Tuesday said a lawsuit filed by California's attorney general regarding lead-based paint on Coke bottle labels manufactured in Mexico and sold in California, was "outlandish."

"All Coca-Cola beverages, including those made in Mexico, are safe and comply with all laws," Ray Steed, Coke's vice president of quality and technical services, said. The company will defend itself against the "outlandish allegations" in the lawsuit, the press release said.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday by state Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, demands that Coke put a warning label on soda bottles imported from Mexico that they say contains carcinogenic lead-based paint on their labels.

Coke said in the release that the bottles mentioned in the lawsuit — a refillable glass bottle for Mexico Coke that was not authorized for sale in California — are no longer being manufactured.

Every bottle of authorized Coca-Cola from Mexico sold in California is 100 percent lead-free, the beverage company said.

"The products that are manufactured in Mexico are not supposed to be coming into United States, but it is getting in anyway because people like it," said Teresa Schilling, a spokeswoman for Lockyer. "Lead exposure can affect the development of kids."

About 20 percent of bottles being refilled by Coca-Cola in Mexico are lead-free and that number is constantly growing, Coke's statement said.