Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc have agreed to make changes to the production of an ingredient in their sodas to avoid the need to label the packages with a cancer warning. The change will not be noticeable to consumers, said statements from both companies. Coca-Cola said that the manufacturing process change will have no effect on the formula, color or taste of Coca-Cola. Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc said that it already meets new California standard with its caramel color production process.
Consumers will hopefully have one less health worry when it comes to drinking soda that may expose them to toxic chemicals. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a U.S. food watchdog group, said it found unsafe levels of the chemical in cans of Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Dr Pepper and Whole Foods Markets Inc’s 365 Cola. The cans were all taken from stores in the Washington, D.C. area, and some had levels of 4-MI near 140 micrograms in each 12-ounce can, the watchdog group said. The FDA’s limit for 4-MI in caramel coloring is 250 parts per million (ppm). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said at the time it was reviewing the group’s petition but that it found no immediate concern to public safety. Coke, Pepsi and other cola manufacturers have suffered public scrutiny and content discussing cancer causing chemicals in cola drinks has since gone viral.
The companies have come under scrutiny that the manufacturing process of their namesake colas have high levels of a chemical linked to cancer in animals. The artificial brown coloring is made using sugars with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures, which results in the chemical 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) being produced. “Coke and Pepsi, with the acquiescence of the FDA, are needlessly exposing millions of Americans to a chemical that causes cancer,” said CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson. The companies have asked the supplier of caramel coloring in their colas to alter their manufacturing process to meet the requirements of a California ballot initiative aiming to limit people’s exposure to harmful chemicals. The change is meant to reduce the amount of a chemical called 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI. The cancer causing chemical in soda was added to the list of carcinogens covered by California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Proposition 65. The American Beverage Association has argued that California added 4-MEI to its list of carcinogens with no studies showing that it causes cancer in humans.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said a person would have to drink “well over a thousand cans of soda a day to reach the doses administered in the studies that have shown links to cancer in rodents”.
Nina, owner of NinaRotz.com, is a freelance writer and blogger. Nina’s work has been published and linked on Associated Content, Yahoo! Shine, Yahoo! Voices, eHow, Live Strong, CNN, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, as well as various online magazines and blogs.