Would You Like Cancer With Your Coke?

CocaColaBottle background freeThe 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]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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21 Comments on "Would You Like Cancer With Your Coke?"

  1. Whew… for a minute there I thought they were talking about the kind you don’t drink.

  2. MadHierophant | Mar 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm |

    This is the perfect excuse to bring back Crystal Pepsi. 

  3. ZombieSlapper | Mar 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm |

    I honestly don’t see why I can’t drink a non-brown Coke. I mean, it’s not like brown is some appealing color one can’t wait to ingest in liquid form. I like a cold soda from time to time, and we know we can be making them (and all of our food & beverages) with more natural ingredients… So why don’t we?

  4. Our studies show that the studies that we performed show that these chemicals have been shown to be safe, so drink up.

  5. And if I do drink well over 1000 cans of Coke a day then I’m screwed, right?

    • Current medical perspectives have a “threshold” viewpoint of toxins, in which any level below the threshold are safe. I’m sure this is true for many chemicals, but i highly doubt this is true for all. Usually the threshold is a measure of acute effects, such that they are scientifically linked to an effect…

      In doing this, they try to find out the amount a chemical in the body it takes to majorly disrupt the system so it can be detected. They set that exorbitant amount as the threshold for unsafe levels.

      Now, this model completely ignores the presence of chronic toxins(obvious examples include tobacco smoking, non-obvious examples(to some) include fluoride). Imagine the number of cigarettes you would have to smoke in one day, to get someone to keel over and die; this is the threshold.  With a mild exaggeration (everyone accepts cigarettes are bad for your health at this point) the threshold model applied to cigarettes declares everything below the threshold safe. 
      Now consider how little you have to smoke to get an bad health effect over 10 years.

  6. to ZombieSlapper recommended your comment based on “it’s not like brown is some appealing color one can’t wait to ingest in liquid form”. I look forward to an excuse to quote that somewhere.

  7. Investinourftre | Mar 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

    When they transport the barrels of the Caramel Coloring it has a skull and crossbones on it, i mean it is seriously toxic.

    • missanthrop | Mar 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm |

      You’re making me what to send to DD Williamson for a sample and see what biohazard suit shows up at my door:  http://caramel.com/request-product-sample/

      …and whether that suit has a sponsored ad across the back.

  8. BurnTheFascists | Mar 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm |

    But seriously, that is some fucked up shit.

  9.  Well of course the FDA agrees and something that is harmful really isn’t, and the other way around.
    Harmful = Good for you
    Benifical = Bad for you and must be made illegal.

  10. missanthrop | Mar 11, 2012 at 8:41 pm |

    I highly recommend: 

    The taste test: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/07/coca-cola-taste-test_n_1324282.html Read to the Update, where they explain that Coke would rather change the ratios of sugar to corn syrup in Mexican coke than allow Americans to live a day without a hefty dose of GMO corn syrup, and drink something they prefer.

    The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink by Michael Blanding: http://amzn.com/B004MPRWOQ, which paints a picture of a company complacent in genocide to get ahead.

    This cites examples of Coke hogging local water sources, evading taxes, defrauding Mexican employees, committing labor violations in Mexico, and a brilliant quote from informant “Coke Throat” about how the main company does almost nothing but reaps the profits to avoid taxes and profit sharing while delegating every aspect of production to other companies. http://www.killercoke.org/crimes_mexico.php

    Though the CCE stiffs the bottling companies out of profits, some subsidiaries, or employees of these, have tried to compensate.  Former Coca-Cola Bottling Executive Charged With Insider Trading: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/former-coca-cola-bottling-executive-charged-with-insider-trading/2012/03/08/gIQAcqL6zR_story.html from just a few days ago in the WSJ and NYT.

    Or any other criticisms of Coke:

  11. Maaaaan, I’m so happy i cut out soda from my diet ages ago. I know people still drinking more soda than water …. jacked up…

  12. This is not a clear and present danger…1000 cokes a day to even resemble the dead test rats? Poor rats! 

  13. REALLY? These Silicon Junkies are worried about cancer in a bottle over the Cancer they have in Hollywood? I mean Come on worry about the air you dumb asses are breathing. Dang, just rename California to, Surgeon General Warning: This State is not a safe alternative to Coca Cola.

  14. Nunya Goddam-Bizness | Mar 17, 2012 at 8:48 am |

    Then it follows that just “breathing” [i was going to add ‘fresh air’] in North Hollywood for five minutes is equivalent to drinking 1000 bottles of Coke® . . . just sayin.

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