Soda coloring contains cancer-causing chemical

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

soda cancer
Take a look at the dangerous quantities of 4-MeI in your favorite drinks.

According to an article from Consumer Reports, some popular sodas contain dangerously high amounts of a cancer-causing food coloring chemical.

The chemical in question is called 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI), and it’s often listed on consumer products as “caramel coloring.” According to the state of California, this molecule may cause cancer, so manufacturers are limited to exposing consumers to no more than 29 micrograms per day on average.

Any product that contains more than this must carry a label that reads, “WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.” According to Consumer Reports, not all companies follow this law. They lab-tested popular soft drinks and found that Pepsi and Malta Goya went above and beyond the state recommendations… with no warning label in sight.

In response to the study, PepsiCo Inc, stated that individuals only consume about one-third of a can on average. So, they claim to be technically meeting the California standards. I don’t know about you, but I usually drink an entire can. It seems kind of silly to sip only a third of it and then either toss it or put it in the fridge, no?

Thankfully, the Consumer Reports mag is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to “require labeling of specific caramel colors in the ingredient lists of food where it is added, so consumers can make informed choices.”

Featured image courtesy of Sam Howzit on Flickr. Image of soda diagram courtesy of Consumer Reports.