Coca-Cola and Pepsi ‘change recipe to avoid putting a cancer warning on their labels’
March 12, 2012
- Both firms to alter the way caramel colour is produced
- Changes will take place in the U.S
- But not in UK as the drinks meet European safety rules
Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been forced to change their recipes in America to avoid having to put cancer-warning labels on their cans – while the drinks in Britain stay the same.There were concerns that one of the food-colouring ingredients may cause tumours in mice – although there was no evidence of a similar risk for humans.
Nonetheless both manufacturers have altered their recipes for drinks sold in America and they now contain far less of the offending chemical.
Showing that the company is more interested in preserving sales than actually ridding its products of known cancer-causing substances, the company chose to remove the toxic ingredient to avoid the warning label — not to actively protect the health of the consumer. The compound (used for the drinks’ caramel coloring), known as 4-methylimidazole (4-MI or 4-MEI), has been ousted by the Center for Sciences in the Public Interest as a powerful carcinogen.
In fact, the Coca-Cola company even denied the cancer link, stating that the findings by CSPI and others were simply untrue. Calling the warning label ‘scientifically unfounded’, Coca-Cola says that there is no public health risk that justifies any change.
“While we believe that there is no public health risk that justifies any such change, we did ask our caramel suppliers to take this step so that our products would not be subject to the requirement of a scientifically unfounded warning,” Coca-Cola representative Diana Garza-Ciarlante told the Associated Press news agency.
As you may know, this coloring compound is not the only dangerous chemical contained in Coca-Cola products. Coca-Cola also contains high-fructose corn syrup, which is devastating the health of children and adults alike. It has also been reported that high-fructose corn syrup oftentimes contains mercury, which has resulted in many scientific organizations calling for immediate FDA action. One such organization, The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, is particularly concerned over the effect that the increased mercury exposure may have on children, such as the children who are actively consuming sodas containing high-fructose corn syrup.
“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered,” said Dr. David Wallinga, from The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
Diet Coke also contains aspartame, an artificial sweetener that has been shown to spawn tumors in rats the size of golf balls. In a study in which rats were given the sugar substitute, 67 percent of all female rats developed tumors roughly the size of golf balls or larger. In the 2 and a health year study, researcher Innes-Brown used a dose of aspartame equivalent to that of 14 cans of diet — a number considered ‘reasonable’ by the FDA (a 50mg per kilogram ratio).
Coca-Cola apparently sees no cause for concern regarding the excessive amounts of aspartame consumed by individuals who drink diet soda on a daily basis, just as they see no cause for removing cancer-linked 4-methylimidazole. Does public health come second to ensuring the stability of profits for the Coca-Cola company?#Link
Always coca-cola: The company are adjusting their colouring formula to dodge having a cancer label on the product
But products sold in the UK will still be made to the same old recipe as European regulators do not believe they pose any health risks.
Officials point out that one would need to drink 1,000 cans of Coke a day to get the same dose of the chemical that was linked to tumours in mice.
Studies in the lab had found that the ingredient ’4-methylimidazole’ – which gives the drink its caramel brown colour – caused cancer in mice and rats.
This led to the state of California adding the chemical to its official list of ingredients that may cause cancer – or ‘carcinogens’ – earlier this year.
Chemical: 4-MI, used in Coke’s colouring, causes cancer in rodents
Under the state’s law, Coca-Cola and Pepsi would have had to put cancer warning labels on bottles and cans alerting the public to the possible risk.
This may well have put many customers off from buying the drinks so the manufacturers instead decided to change the recipes for products sold in California.
Over the next few weeks they will roll out the new versions across the rest of America.
But the European Food Safety Authority, which assesses the risk of food and drink across the EU, does not believe the ingredient poses any danger.
A spokesman for the Food Standards Agency said for this reason the drinks sold in Britain will remain exactly the same.
They said: ‘The European Food Safety Authority recently looked at 4-methylimidazole and concluded it does not pose a health risk to humans. Based on available evidence, the presence of 4-methylimidazole in colouring agents is not a food safety concern.’
It is very rare for Coca-Cola and Pepsi to change their recipes however.
In fact when Coca-Cola tried to make the drink slightly sweeter in 1985 and relaunched it as ‘New Coke’ in the US there was a public outcry.
Less than three months later the company announced it was reverting back to the original recipe.
A Coca-Cola spokesman told MailOnline that rather than ‘changing its recipe’ it was simply changing the production process of one of its ingredients.
‘The caramel colour in all of our products has been, is and always will be safe, and The Coca-Cola Company is not changing the world-famous formula for our Coca-Cola beverages,’ she said.
‘Over the years, we have updated our manufacturing processes from time to time, but never altered our Secret Formula.
‘We have asked our caramel manufacturers to modify their production process to reduce the amount of 4-MEI in the caramel.
‘But that will have no effect on the formula or on the great-tasting, high-quality products that consumers expect from us.
‘These modifications will not affect the colour or taste of Coca-Cola. Our commitment to the highest quality and safety of our great brands remains our top priority.
‘And we will continue to rely on sound, evidence-based science to ensure that our products are safe.’#Link