Pepsi Delays Removal of Known Carcinogen from Soda Products
Pepsi has delayed their promise to remove the known carcinogen 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) from their soft drinks nationwide until February 2014. California, in response to its Proposition 65, is the only state to have Pepsis free of the cancer-causing ingredient. Pepsi products tested in San Antonio contained some of the highest amounts of 4-MEI in the nation.
Information from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
- 4-MEI is formed during the production of certain caramel coloring agents used in food and drinks.
- Studies in 2007 by the National Toxicology Program show that long term exposure can result in lung cancer in men and women.
- As of now, there is no national requirement for companies to disclose if their products use more than what the OEHHA considers a safe amount of 4-MEI.
4-MEI in Soft Drinks
Both Coke and Pepsi stated they would remove 4-MEI from their caramel coloring last year. While Coke has followed through with the statement (on average 9 out of 10 tested Coke products were 4-MEI free), Pepsi has only made the effort in California where it is required that their product be labeled as containing a know carcinogen as an ingredient. Pepsi does not plan to remove 4-MEI nationwide until February 2014, but has yet to give any reason for the delay.
California’s Proposition 65 requires that all companies are required to label products that contain known carcinogens that exceed the CA safety level.
High 4-MEI Levels Found in San Antonio
Current tests show that Pepsi’s sodas contain a much larger amount of 4-MEI than what is considered safe by the OEHHA. Pepsi in San Antonio, Texas was found to contain 181.05 micrograms of 4-MEI per serving when tested in June. This is 6 times above the CA safety level.
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