You are what you eat & drink

Coke and Pepsi alter recipe to avoid cancer warning


Coca-Cola and Pepsi are changing the recipes for their drinks to avoid being legally obliged to put a cancer warning label on the bottle.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo account for nearly 90% of the US fizzy drink market

The new recipe for caramel colouring in the drinks has less 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) – a chemical which California has added to its list of carcinogens.

The change to the recipe has already been introduced in California but will be rolled out across the US.

Coca-Cola says there is no health risk to justify the change.

‘No risk’

Spokeswoman Diana Garza-Ciarlante told the Associated Press news agency they wanted to ensure their products “would not be subject to the requirement of a scientifically unfounded warning”.

4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) - Formed naturally in the heating and browning process

The chemical has been linked to cancer in mice and rats, according to one study, but there is no evidence that it poses a health risk to humans, said the American Beverage Association, which represents the wider industry.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims a person would need to drink more than 1,000 cans of Coke or Pepsi a day to take in the same dose of the chemical that was given to the animals in the lab test.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo account for nearly 90% of the US fizzy drink market, according to one industry tracker, Beverage Digest.

The companies say changing their recipes across the whole of the US, not just in California, makes the drinks more efficient to manufacture.

In a statement Coca-Cola added that the manufacturing process across Europe would not change.

It said that apart from California “not one single regulatory agency around the world considers the exposure of the public to 4-MEI as present in caramels as an issue”.


Then who’s making them put the ‘cancer risk’ on the label?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said it found unsafe levels of a chemical used to make caramel color in cans of Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc’s Dr. Pepper, and Whole Foods’ 365 Cola.

The group asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban caramel coloring agents that contain the chemical known as 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI. This follows a similar plea last year.

“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. “If companies can make brown food coloring that is carcinogen-free, the industry should use that.” From – Read more.


“According to Food Safety News, an independent study commissioned by the CSPI found that Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi, and Diet Pepsi contained unsafe levels of 4-methylimidazole (4-MI). Why is 4-MI, a chemical that has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals, in bottles of soda? Because it’s a by-product of the reaction that creates caramel coloring in brown sodas.” From – Chow read more

This is the corporative bullshit they've used in the past

Obviously this is a case of the FDA lying in the same bed as Coca Cola & Pepsi.

Typical of these too-big-for-their-boots corporations to minimise the issue.

CSPI does not make these claims without basis and I would rather trust them than the coporate bullshit.

The world would be a better place without soda.

I know this is not a political blog, but I do have a rant occasionally on serious issues.

As a chef, I have known for years that it is illegal to make brown food colouring (burnt sugar) in commercial kitchens.



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