Pepsi One Warning: That Caramel Coloring in Your Soda Is Dangerous!

by Burke Speaker | January 24, 2014 9:35 am

Pepsi One Warning: That Caramel Coloring in Your Soda Is Dangerous!

The caramel coloring in Pepsi‘s Pepsi One (PEP[1]) could be slowly making you sick, Consumer Reports says, with a chemical additive that even the World Health Organization is warning people about.

pepsi one cancer 300x225 Pepsi One Warning: That Caramel Coloring in Your Soda Is Dangerous![2]The Food and Drug Administration has now said it will re-examine[3] the chemical additive.

The coloring that’s actually found in many soft drinks includes the chemical 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MeI. (U.S. labels list it as “caramel coloring,” because sadly that’s how easy it is to avoid calling something a chemical.) The World Health Organization has noted that the chemical causes cancer.

Via CNN:[4]

Those who say the chemical may possibly cause cancer include the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer[5] and the state of California, which now limits manufacturers to 29 micrograms of exposure for the average consumer per day. Foods exceeding that limit have to carry a warning label that reads: “WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.”

But when Consumer Reports purchased sodas in California and had them analyzed by a lab, it found that one 12-ounce serving of Pepsi One or Malta Goya exceeded the levels permitted without a warning label.

Now for the really bad news: The Food and Drug Administration does not set federal limits on 4-MeI in food.

In addition, Consumer Reports found that the chemical differs between states, so that a Pepsi One bought in New York was found to have four times as much 4-MeI as the same product bought the same month in California.

But Pepsi quickly announced it had already thought of that, and replied with a response that will likely scare soda drinkers, but make their lawyers happy (From the LA Times[6])

The soda giant said the levels of 4-MeI in its drinks did not amount to 29 micrograms per day because “the average amount of diet soda consumed by those who drink it is approximately 100 [milliliters] per day, or less than a third of a 12 [ounce] can.”

In other words, it’s not harmful because, well, who drinks a whole can of Pepsi One?

PEP stock is down slightly in early morning trading.

Endnotes:
  1. PEP: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=PEP
  2. [Image]: http://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/pepsi-one-cancer.jpg
  3. now said it will re-examine: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-01-23/fda-says-it-is-studying-caramel-coloring-in-soda
  4. Via CNN:: http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/23/health/consumer-reports-soda-caramel-coloring/
  5.  International Agency for Research on Cancer: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol101/mono101-015.pdf
  6. From the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-caramel-color-20140123,0,4630.story#axzz2rEXRV8gi

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