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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 USA 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, while the cocaine is sold to Mallinckrodt, a pharmaceutical firm, for medicinal purposes.