Pepsi Products Contain Cancer-Causing Chemical, Watchdog Warns

NEW YORK -- An environmental group said Wednesday that the caramel coloring used in Pepsi still contains a worrisome level of a carcinogen, even after the drink maker said it would change its formula.

In March, PepsiCo (PEP) and Coca-Cola (KO) both said they would adjust their formulas nationally after California passed a law mandating drinks containing a certain level of carcinogens come with a cancer warning label. The changes were made for drinks sold in California when the law passed.

The chemical is 4-methylimidazole, or 4-Mel, which can form during the cooking process and, as a result, may be found in trace amounts in many foods.

Watchdog group The Center for Environmental Health found via testing that while Coke products no longer test positive for the chemical, Pepsi products sold outside of California still do.

Pepsi said its caramel coloring suppliers are changing their manufacturing process to cut the amount of 4-Mel in its caramel. That process is complete in California and will be finished in February 2014 in the rest of the country. Pepsi said it will also be taken out globally, but did not indicate a timeline.

Meanwhile, the company said the FDA and other regulatory agencies around the world consider Pepsi's caramel coloring safe.

Coca-Cola said it has transitioned to using a modified caramel in U.S. markets beyond California that does not contain Mel-4, so it wouldn't have to have separate inventory of products for different locations. It also said all of its products, whether they have the modified caramel or not, are safe.

The watchdog group Center for Environmental Health said it commissioned Eurofins Analystical laboratory in Metairie, La., to test Coke and Pepsi products from California in May and from across the country in June.

The lab did not find the chemical in California products. And it found no 4-Mel in nine out of 10 Coke products outside of the state. But it found levels of 4-Mel that are 4 to 8 times higher than California safety levels in all 10 Pepsi products purchased outside California, according to the Center for Environmental Health.

Trace amounts of 4-Mel have not been linked to cancer in humans. The American Beverage Association said that California added the coloring to its list of carcinogens with no studies showing that it causes cancer in humans. It noted that the listing was based on a single study in lab mice and rats.

The Food and Drug Administration has also said that a consumer would have to drink more than 1,000 cans of soda a day to reach the doses administered that have shown links to cancer in rodents.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo account for almost 90 percent of the soda market, according to industry tracker Beverage Digest.

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Yet another ad bought and paid for by all their competitors. Give us a break, even the very air we breath causes cancer. When in fact no one really knows the true cause.Todate we only have research with theories none with 100 % proof of any of it.

July 05 2013 at 2:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Is there ANYTHING in this country that we can eat or drink? I've never seen a death certificate that listed the cause of death as drinking too much Pepsi. Seriously.,,,,,

July 05 2013 at 1:18 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

why do these companies want to kill us???? No wonder we are weak and sick

July 04 2013 at 7:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We started dying the day we were born.

July 04 2013 at 7:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bbnpl4545's comment

You mean they allowed the corporations and drug and vaccine manufacturers to start killing us starting the day we were born

July 04 2013 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


July 04 2013 at 6:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

another AOL piece of garbage. What useless information from a rag

July 04 2013 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The biggest health threat faced by the average American is being overweight, eating a diet heavy on processed foods and getting too little exercise. Yet millions live that life each and every day. Second comes driving/riding in cars where an average of 100 people die every day. When was the last time you heard of somebody dying from an OD of Pepsi?.

July 04 2013 at 5:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If the air don't get ya , the water will.

July 04 2013 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This certainly isn't going to stop anyone from drinking Pepsi. The thing is, EVERYTHING in the world seems to have something bad in it. The air. The water. ALL our food. A little bit here and there, every single day (drinking and eating using plastic. Breathing in polluted air. Swimming in a body of water.) All the little things, IMO, may add up and in some people be the trigger that makes them get cancer. Eliminating Pepsi? So you take away one tiny piece of the puzzle, will it really make any difference (assuming you don't drink a case of it a day)? What about the air, the water, the food? Knock yourself out trying to 'live healthy' is a losing game, we are all going to die eventually. Giving up Pepsi? How about if you live near a factory, should you move so the air is better. Giving up Pepsi? Should you insist nothing but organic foods shall ever pass your lips again? Even though you were brought up on junk food, on red Jello, on sprayed produce? Silly, scare mongering news, Pepsi has nothing to worry about any more than the ocean is worried there's mercury in its fish.

July 04 2013 at 3:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to LNOFT97's comment

I was not brought up on junk food red jello and sprayed produce or wonder bread...thanks mom and dad! We need information like this and little by little a sea change may come and stupid people who are apathetic fat obese and one day cancer ridden because they couldn't muster the mindfulness to care will have their consequences ...thank the Lord there are watchdogs out there trying to effect change.. Go back to your sloppy lazy ways but please let the watchdogs do their job and thank you watchdogs! If the world was left up to people like you what a disgrace!

July 04 2013 at 7:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

LOL Something new to cause cancer everyday! Does anyone remember when the big warning came out about Hamburger meat causing cancer? Then they said in the fine print that they had fed rats 1000 times the amount that a normal humans could ingest in a lifetime (or something like that). That's when I decided that since I was going to die someday anyway (of something), I was going to enjoy the food while I was here! Now I know I will enjoy the soda that much more!

July 04 2013 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply