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Belguim extends Coke product ban

BELGIUM'S GOVERNMENT yesterday extended its ban on some Coca-Cola products but agreed to allow sales of some of the company's other beverages to resume for the first time since Monday. Then they were ordered from shelves after dozens of people became ill after drinking Coca-Cola products.

France partially relaxed its ban on sales of Coca-Cola, but Switzerland joined a move by other nations to block sales of Coca-Cola drinks produced in Belgium. Coca-Cola had been hoping for a lifting of the ban to help restore European consumer confidence in brands damaged by the health scare.

With Coke's problems coming on top of a Belgian scandal involving dioxin- infected meat, eggs and dairy products, France said it would propose creating an international council to monitor food safety.

In Belgium, the Heath Ministry said that it was allowing the resumption of sales of Coca-Cola's Nestea, Aquarius, Bonaqua, Kinley, Lift and Minute Maid brands. But the ban was extended on Coke, Fanta and Sprite pending further investigation into what caused the illnesses.

"It is not possible today to explain in a calming and satisfactory way the appearance of these symptoms of illness," said the Health Minister Luc Van den Bossche.

"Coca-Cola must withdraw all these products from the market and destroy them."