(Photo: REUTERS / George Frey)
Coca-Cola addiction has contributed to the death of a 30 year old woman in New Zealand, an inquest has heard.
Natasha Harris, who is a mother of eight, is reported to have drunk up to 10 liters of Coke a day - which amounts to twice the level of the 400mg recommended safe limit of caffeine.
Coroner David Crerar, released his statement on Tuesday, where he claimed to have found that Harris had died of cardiac arrhythmia caused by the effects of caffeine and poor nutrition.
Her de facto partner, Christopher Hodgkinson, had told the inquest into her death that she was addicted to Coca-Cola.
He reported, "The first thing she would do in the morning was have a drink of Coke, and the last thing she would do in the day was have a drink of Coke by her bed."
It is also reported that she smoked up to 30 cigarettes a day and ate very little.
The news has been announced nearly two years following her death. Harris died on Feb. 25, 2010, and lived in the southern city of Invercargill.
The inquest also heard that Harris had to have her teeth pulled out previously because they had become so rotten. Her state was so bad that it was also heard that at least one of her children was born with no tooth enamel at all.
The coroner said, "It is more likely than not that the drinking of very large quantities of Coke was a substantial factor that contributed to the development of the metabolic imbalances, which gave rise to arrhythmia."
He added, "I find that, when all of the available evidence is considered, were it not for the consumption of very large quantities of Coke by Natasha Harris, it is unlikely that she would have died when she died and how she died."
A recommendation was also issued by the coroner to New Zealand's Ministry of Health to review whether the labels on soft drinks were providing enough protection to consumers.
The coroner also made a comment to Coca-Cola, urging them to include more prominently the quantity of caffeine content in its drinks, and also include a warning about excessive consuption.
Coca-Cola Oceania Ltd released a statement following the coroner's report, saying: "The coroner acknowledged that he could not be certain what caused Ms Harris's heart attack. Therefore we are disappointed that the coroner has chosen to focus on the combination of Ms Harris's excessive consumption of Coca-Cola, together with other health and lifestyle factors, as the probable cause of her death."
The statement added, "This is contrary to the evidence that showed the experts could not agree on the most likely cause."
Here is a video report into the incident: