Pepsi outside California still has chemical linked to cancer -report

July 3 Wed Jul 3, 2013 7:59am EDT

July 3 (Reuters) - Pepsi-Cola is still using caramel coloring containing a chemical linked to cancer in rodents, a report released on Wednesday showed, more than a year after the beverage maker promised to phase it out.

The Center for Environmental Health said that PepsiCo Inc. lagged its rival Coca-Cola in removing the chemical, called 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI.

Coke and Pepsi said in March 2012 that they would make changes to the production of the caramel coloring used in their namesake colas to avoid the need to label the packages with a cancer warning following a California ballot initiative aimed at limiting people's exposure to toxic chemicals.

This spring, CEH tested samples of Coke and Pepsi purchased from California and 10 other states. Its findings showed no 4-MI in any soda from California. In the samples from the other states, CEH said nine of 10 Coke drinks had little or none of the chemical, while all the Pepsi samples did.

"Pepsi's delay is inexplicable," Michael Green, CEH's executive director, said in a statement. "We urge the company to take swift action to provide all Americans with the same safer product they're selling in California."

In response, PepsiCo said the modification for the rest of the United States would be completed by February 2014. It said it is also undertaking the effort globally, even though regulators in the United States, Europe and Canada consider the chemical safe.

Very high levels of 4-MI have been linked to cancer in animals. It was added last year to a list of chemicals covered by California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Proposition 65.

Coke said it modified its sodas for California first so they would not have to carry a warning. But since it makes no sense to have separate inventories of products, it started using a modified caramel for U.S. markets beyond California.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said last year that 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."

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Comments (3)
sharisunshine wrote:
It’s kind of misleading to only put one of the big company’s names when both are doing it

Jul 03, 2013 11:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Eertesor wrote:
But Pepsi is my rodent’s favorite drink!

Jul 03, 2013 12:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ctmusc wrote:
This is another example of the Center for Environmental Health manipulating a liberal press(Reuters) with goofy science and costing us all billions of doors as business passes the cost of changes onto us. The same test, cited by the goofy CFEH,would ban every fruit, vegtable and meat in all supermarkets if applied to them. Even the doctor that created the test warned not to use it in that way. But we don’t get that perspective from Reuters, who let liberal pseudo science groups get a pass and everyone else gets scrutiny?

Jul 04, 2013 9:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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