Coke and Pepsi Change Production to Avoid Cancer Warning

Oh no! There is a quality problem with America’s favorite drink- Coca Cola not Budweiser!  It is a serious wound for both protagonists in the so-called ‘cola wars, the Coca-Cola company and PepsiCoI Inc.

What Is 4-methyclothiazide?

The quality hiccup for the cola companies began with some chemicals that are found in the caramel coloring supplied to both companies from the same source. The chemical is called 4-methyclothiazide. 4-MI as it is called for short has been linked to increased cancer occurrences in animals.

Both cola companies have been in contact with their suppliers of the caramel coloring, demanding changes in the manufacturing processes to reduce the levels of 4-MI. Both companies are going to lengths in communications on Friday to reassure customers that they will not see or taste any difference in the beverages nor is there any health risk at all in continuing to enjoy their favorite sodas.

The need for changes to 4-MI levels is because of the demands of a California ballot initiative which is attempting to eliminate consumer’s exposure to any toxic chemicals. 4-MI was listed in January on the latest toxic substances register of the California ‘Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, first put into law in 1986. This act is also known as ‘proposition 65’. Research found high levels of 4-MI in animals correlated with incidences of cancer, and any carcinogenic substances must be eliminated from the food chain.

Proposition 65 is very clear where responsibility lies, “no person in business shall knowingly and intentionally expose any individual to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity without first giving a clear and reasonable warning …” . Hence the quick action taken by the cola companies.

Will the Taste Be Altered with Carcinogen Removed?

A Coca-Cola spokesperson said that changes to the manufacturing process to reduce 4-MI will in no way alter the formula, the appearance or the taste of their drinks. They will phase in the modified drinks in California and then the rest of their market areas over time. Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc reports that all of its caramel color additives are currently being produced to meet the requirements of the latest California standard.

However, only this week chemical analysis of colas from the big two, Whole Foods Markets Inc’s 365 Cola and Dr.Pepper, found unacceptable levels of 4-MI. The analysis was done by independent watch dog group the Center for Science in the Public Interest. They are petitioning the Food and Drug Administration over this issue currently.

The FDA is saying that a consumer would need to drink a lot more than 1000 colas per day to build up the cancer-causing levels given to laboratory rats. So far, there have been no significant negative effects on the cola company’s share prices. There is no cause for alarm or even for changing your favorite cola drink but naturally, any whiff of a link of cancer to any product is an enormous headache for CEO’s and board everywhere.

Claire Al-Aufi

Claire Al-Aufi is a contributing author for Hive Health Media who provides updates on health and fitness news.

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