Has the closely guarded recipe for Coca-Cola, the iconic beverage that came to be a symbol of all things American, finally come to light? A US radio host seems to think so.

Ira Glass, host of This American Life produced by Chicago Public Radio, said over the air last weekend that he had discovered the recipe by examining a photograph from a February 18, 1979, copy of The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, a publication from Coke’s hometown.

“I am not kidding,” Glass told his listeners. “One of the most famously guarded trade secrets on the planet: I have it right here and I am going to read it to you. I am going to read it to the world.”

The photo shows a page from a book of handwritten pharmaceutical recipes. Coca- Cola, invented in 1885 by John Pemberton, was originally sold at drug stores.

Glass said he tested the recipe by asking a Seattle soda company to make some, and after tasting the beverage believes the recipe he found is indeed the Holy Grail of fizzy drinks.

He attributed a slight deviation from the taste of real Coke to the lack of coca-leaf extract in the mix. The extract is an ingredient available exclusively to the Coca-Cola company, following an arrangement with the US Drug Enforcement Administration.


A factory strips from coca leaves the narcotic substances that make cocaine so addictive, then produces the extract Coca- Cola puts in its mix. It ships the coca essence only to the Coca- Cola Company.

Coca-Cola was not alarmed by the radio show host’s claims.

“Many third parties have tried over time to crack our secret formula,” company spokeswoman Kerry Tressler told ABC News. “Try as they might, there’s only one real thing. And that was not it.”

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