ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has confirmed the U.S. Army is testing a big batch of bottled water made by Coca-Cola to see if it made soldiers in Afghanistan sick.
Investigative reporter Aaron Diamant went to the Coca-Cola headquarters in downtown Atlanta where the company has launched its own investigation.
Coca-Cola leaders launched that investigation once Channel 2 brought the story to their attention.
After getting a tip from a sick soldier overseas, Diamant spent the day on the phone with military leaders in Washington and in Afghanistan.
Diamant said he spent a lot of time Friday texting back and forth with a U.S. soldier stationed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan fighting an unexpected battle.
"About 75 percent of our company has been sick and I’m sure it has affected others," he wrote. "S
ome had fevers, explosive diarrhea ," he said.
The soldier is part of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 252nd engineering company that shipped out last spring.
"We just found out it could potentially be the water we've been drinking two days ago with signs being posted on base
," he said.
The soldier sent Diamant a picture of one of those signs warning soldiers: "Do not drink bottled 'Kinley' water!
It has been placed on medical hold until further notice."
Kinley is one brand of bottled water on the base and is produced by Coca-Cola Company at facilities overseas.
Diamant found YouTube video shows a one of Kinley's high tech bottling plants in India.
Friday afternoon, a high-ranking official with NATO’s international security assistance force sent an email saying
, “As a precautionary measure, the U.S. Army preventive medicine recommended setting aside a specific lot of bottled water that is distributed in some areas of Afghanistan until further testing is completed. At this time, there is no evidence of water-borne illnesses."
But the Army won't know for sure until that testing is done. Still, the same NATO official confirmed, "it was noticed that fine particles were seen in bottles."
Whether those particles or something else in the water are what made all those soldiers sick, bad Kinley water has made news on base before.
A Bagram Air Field newsletter from 2009 included a highlighted safety recall warning another batch of Kinley bottled water
"has been deemed unfit for human consumption."
Channel 2 Action News got a statement on Friday afternoon from Coca-Cola, saying the company is working to get more information and "we are looking into the concerns that WSB-TV has brought to our attention. Providing safe and high-quality products is our top priority. We have high standards for ensuring that our products meet our consumers' expectations everywhere in the world."
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