One environmental group released a report just before July 4th regarding the link between cola and cancer and Pepsi is still selling products that are made with the ingredient called 4-MEI, or 4 methylimidalole. According to the Center for Environmental Health, this ingredient was determined by the state of California, to be a carcinogen.
The group took note that Pepsi that was sold in the state of California had been remade to comply with the new state ruling regarding the drink, but Pepsi products that were sold outside of California still include high amounts of 4-MEI. The ingredient is meant to give the cola drinks the caramel color.
According to the Center for Environmental Health, there is little or no 4-MEI in Coca-Cola because they have chosen to change the way they color their drinks.
PepsiCo has recently responded to the Center for Environmental Health’s recent report by saying that it’s color suppliers have been working to change the way that it is made in an effort to reduce the levels of 4-MEI that are found in it. They also said that drinks that are sold in the remainder of the United States will have lower levels of the ingredient by about February of 2014.
On Friday afternoon, PepsiCo issued a statement that said that they “strongly refute” any claims that their products are unsafe. They go on to say that the safety of their products is PepsiCo’s number one priority, and they always abide by regulatory guidelines everywhere they do business. The statement also said that the company worked to meet the new guidelines set forth immediately, so they could maintain a fluid supply chain that is globally committed to continuing the changes across the US and the world.
For those wondering what 4-MEI is, it is a compound that is made when some caramel coloring agents are made, and it can be found in soy sauces, beers, breads, colas and even coffee. The California law, called Proposition 65, the state requires that manufacturers label toxic ingredients. California added 4-MEI to the list last year when studies that were published by the National Toxicology Program in 2007 found that long term exposure to the substance caused increased instances of lung cancer in mice.
The Center for Environmental Health was not able to find any other products that contain high levels of 4-MEI, mostly because people tend to drink more soda than any other products tested.
Although federal regulators haven’t raised any concern about 4-MEI as of yet, the US Food and Drug Administration explained the differences between the new California law and the federal laws by saying that based on the information that is available now, the FDA doesn’t have any evidence to suggest that there is a short-term danger from 4-MEI at the levels found in foods using caramel coloring.