In an effort to avoid a possible cancer warning label affixed to their iconic brand names, both Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) will alter the manufacturing processes for the caramel coloring in their respective colas.
The move is a response to requirements contained in California’s Safe Drinking and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65) which, in January, added requirements limiting consumers’ exposure to the chemical 4-methylimidazole (4-MI).
Recently, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) indicated they found unsafe levels of the chemical in cans of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola. High levels of 4-MI have been linked to cancer in animals.
Both Coke and Pepsi said they have started work on modifying the process for production of the caramel coating in California, and will expand the process further over time.
The companies were quick to stress that the modifications to the manufacturing processes will have no impact or effect on their popular end products.
“Consumers will notice no difference in our products and have no reason at all for any health concerns,” said PepsiCo spokeswoman Gina Anderson in a statement.
According to Reuters, a spokesman for Coca-Cola, Ben Sheidler, said the modification to the manufacturing process will have no effect on the formula, color, or taste of Coca-Cola.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is viewing the information provided by the CPSI, but in the short term has stressed that the soft drinks are still safe, suggesting that consumers would have to drink excessive amounts of the soft drinks to reach cancer causing dosage levels.
While it is unclear as to what might constitute those levels of consumption of the beverage, the changes appear unlikely to change the habits of both Coca-Cola and Pepsi’s most devoted and loyal fans.