Stepan Company (NYSE: SCL) is a manufacturer of specialty chemicals headquartered in Northfield, Illinois. The company was founded in 1932 by Alfred C. Stepan, Jr., and has approximately 1,500 employees. It is currently run by his grandson, F. Quinn Stepan, Jr. The company describes itself as the largest global merchant manufacturer of anionic surfactants, which are used to enhance the foaming and cleaning capabilities of detergents, shampoos, toothpastes, and cosmetics.
Coca-Cola includes as an ingredient a coca leaf extract prepared by a Stepan Company plant in Maywood, New Jersey. The facility, which had been known as the Maywood Chemical Works, was purchased by Stepan in 1959. The plant is the only commercial entity in the United States authorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration to import coca leaves, which come primarily from Peru. Approximately 100 metric tons of dried coca leaf are imported each year. The cocaine-free leaves are sold to The Coca Cola Company for use in soft drinks, while the cocaine is sold to Mallinckrodt, a pharmaceutical firm, for medicinal purposes.
- About Us, Stepan Company. Accessed June 14, 2007.
- Benson, Drew. "Coca kick in drinks spurs export fears", The Washington Times, April 20, 2004. Accessed June 14, 2007. "Coke dropped cocaine from its recipe around 1900, but the secret formula still calls for a cocaine-free coca extract produced at a Stepan Co. factory in Maywood, N.J. Stepan buys about 100 metric tons of dried Peruvian coca leaves each year, said Marco Castillo, spokesman for Peru's state-owned National Coca Co."
- History, Stepan Company. Accessed June 14, 2007.
- May, Clifford D. "How Coca-Cola Obtains Its Coca", The New York Times, July 1, 1988. Accessed April 11, 2008. "A Stepan laboratory in Maywood, N.J., is the nation's only legal commercial importer of coca leaves, which it obtains mainly from Peru and, to a lesser extent, Bolivia. Besides producing the coca flavoring agent sold to The Coca-Cola Company, Stepan extracts cocaine from the coca leaves, which it sells to Mallinckrodt Inc., a St. Louis pharmaceutical manufacturer that is the only company in the United States licensed to purify the product for medicinal use." See links for more information