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Coca-Cola Modifies Caramel Color To Avoid Cancer Warning Label

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.



"The company did make the decision to ask its caramel suppliers to make the necessary manufacturing process modifications to meet the requirement of the State of California," Diana Garza Ciarlante, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman, wrote in an email.



Garza Ciarlante says caramel coloring in all Coke products has always been safe.



"The fact is that the body of science about 4-MEI in foods or beverages does not support the erroneous allegations that CSPI would like the public to believe," she writes. Outside of California, no regulatory agency concerned with protecting the public's health has stated that 4-MI is a human carcinogen.



"Caramel color is now — and has always been — safe and harmless" says Ted Nixon, CEO of D.D. Williamson, the world's largest supplier of caramel color.



He explained that in order to modify the caramel color to reduce the levels of 4-MI, he sent his scientists back to the drawing board to change the manufacturing process.



"We did have to change these various inputs of temperature, pressure and the various ingredients we're using in order to change [4-MI concentrations]," Nixon says.



And Nixon says he'll be able to meet the demand of all of his soda clients, in rolling out this modified caramel color in products nationwide, and worldwide.



Coke says it will expand the use of the low-4-MI caramel color nationally, though Garza Ciarlante says it's important to note that the modifications will not change Coca-Cola products.



http://tinyurl.com/7cl63b6


Added: Mar-9-2012 
By: TalkingMonkey
In:
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Tags: coke
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  • Comment of user 'T0M65' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • Tell me something that doesn't cause cancer anymore then I'll be worried. Im a Dr.Pepper drinker anyway so I guess they're next on the list huh?

    Posted Mar-9-2012 By 

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  • Warning: The contents of California have been known to be a carcinogen within these United States.

    Please enter at your own risk.

    Posted Mar-9-2012 By 

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  • Is anyone surprised by this?

    Anything that you can drink AND clean off the terminal posts in your car's battery can't be good for you. We know, deep down, that all processed foods and drinks are contributing to obesity and cancer in the so called civilized world. Of course it takes excess of anything to become an instant health risk, but this news is a good example of the overall hypocracy going on, i.e. "The real thing" marketing gimmickry 'aint so real after all, is it?

    Posted Mar-9-2012 By 

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  • Don't do business in California. Simple.

    Posted Mar-9-2012 By 

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  • how many folks drink a 1000 cans o coke in a year? Sure the body would excrete and metabolize but i would rahter avoid this shit. Thats why i prefer beverages and colas with natural ingredients. Such colas and beverages are much smaller and cannot compete with COKE AND PEPSI but they taste much better . This is what happens when Corporations cut corners to cut costs...

    Posted Mar-9-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'Fahstahoahn' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • And the pussification continues.

    Posted Mar-10-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'DFW1990' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @DFW1990 because its liberals that compete with soda maufacturers. I'd like to see a lobby list in this case.

      Posted Mar-9-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user 'DFW1990' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @DFW1990 You nimrods are complete fools. How about this: Liberals want to stop assanine idiots like yourself from drinking cancer because you are too damn stupid not to.

      Posted Mar-9-2012 By 

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  • I heard this, this morning.
    Interestingly while Coke and Pepsi are complying in the US, the rest of the world?....nah.. don't bother.

    Posted Mar-9-2012 By 

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    • @whogoesthere
      Because the rest of the world aren't mad, that's why.
      You'd have to drink 1000 cans a day (!) to reach dangerous levels.
      It's physically impossible to consume 1000 soda cans of any beverage in 24 hours.

      Posted Mar-10-2012 By 

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  • I think what most people don't realise is under the FDA rules there is no limit to how much of a chemical a scientist can put into a mouse to prove it is carcinogenic. The amount of cola you would have to drink to get enough 4-MEI is 1,000 litres a day. You know when you BBQ beef you get a far higher rate of carcinogens and free radicals in a single sitting that 10,000 litres of cola. Technically beef should also be classified a carcinogenic food stuff under the FDA rules but then that would rea More..

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  • Comment of user 'MAKMAK' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • Comment of user 'rclark951' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • Hey California, how bout you stop being such a pussy state and quit your proposition 65 bullshit, I live in Iowa and work on Union Pacific locomotives and they all have that stupid "prop 65" sticker in them saying that the diesel exhaust can cause cancer. Well no shit, you don't say, so I can't be safe while sticking my face over the exhaust stack?

    Posted Mar-11-2012 By 

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  • why would you drink that nasty shit in the first place

    Posted Mar-9-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'DFW1990' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!