The Coca-Cola Company doesn’t like it, but it’s removing the caramel coloring from Coke due to California declaring the compound to be a carcinogen. Via WBUR:
When the state of California added the compound 4-methylimidazole, also known as 4-MI or 4-MEI, to its list of known carcinogens in 2011, it created a problem for the soda industry.
The caramel color they used to give colas that distinctive, brown hue contained levels of 4-MI that would have warranted a cancer warning label on every can sold in the state.
And this wasn’t the industry’s only challenge. The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban ammonia-sulfite caramel color. It’s a request the CSPI repeated this week after finding 4-MI in samples of Coke and Pepsi.
“This is nothing more than CSPI scare tactics, and their claims are outrageous,” writes the American Beverage Association in a statement released to the media.
“The science simply does not show that 4-MEI foods or beverages is a threat to human health,” the statement continues.
And the FDA seems to agree. FDA spokesman Douglas Karas wrote in a statement that the FDA is currently reviewing the CSPI petition, but “it is important to understand that a consumer would have to consume 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.”
But in order to meet the requirements of California law — and avoid cancer warning labels on cans — soda manufacturers have come up with a solution: switch to a new, low 4-MI formulation of caramel coloring. Coca-Cola tells The Salt they’ve already begun the change…
[continues at WBUR]