Good to know this. Two keen competitors in the marketing of their sugary soda drinks, Cocacola and Pepsico announced that they have lowered levels of a chemical in caramel coloring to comply with a California law, but insisted the drinks pose no health risks and recipes will not change.
This move will allow the companies to avoid having to label products with a cancer warning due to what the health-conscious west coast state has ruled are high levels of 4-methylimidazole, shown to cause cancer in lab rodents.
4-Methylimidazole (4MI) is used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, photographic chemicals, dyes and pigments, cleaning and agricultural chemicals, and rubber. It has been identified as a by-product of fermentation in foods and has been detected in mainstream and side stream tobacco smoke.
4MI is carcinogenic inducing alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma and carcinoma in male and female mice. 4MI may also induce mononuclear cell leukemia in female rats.
Both Cocacola and Pepsico said their popular and highly secretive soda recipes will not be altered but that caramel suppliers have been asked to reduce 4-MEI levels in California, a change that will eventually spread across the United States.