Why is Coke Changing its Product Formulation?

photo: Rodale

Last year The State of California updated its list of known carcinogens to include 4-methylimidazole (4-MI). Studies have shown it to cause leukemia as well as cancerous tumors in the respiratory system.

Why are we mentioning 4-MI?

Well, its found in every can of Coke (an Pepsi). 4-MI is part of the caramel coloring that gives the carbonated drinks their distinctive brown coloring. But unlike homemade caramel, which is created by melting sugar in a saucepan, the stuff in coke is made by chemical companies by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures. The chemical reactions result in the formation of 4-MI.

In California, An item that may cause cancer must clearly be labeled as such. Coca Cola certainly does not want its bright red cans to include a “Warning: may cause cancer” label on them. So it has asked DDW, the company that supplies its caramel coloring to fiddle with the formula to reduce the level of 4-MI below a point that would require a warning label.

Now of course the PR teams at Coke and the American Beverage Association are downplaying the risks. And so is the FDA (anyone surprised?). According to the FDA, a person would need to drink 1000 cans of Coke a day to reach the level of toxicity that caused cancer in lab mice.

Agreed, the risk for cancer is small. But it is there. So why take chances?

But the bigger beef we have with soda pop is the high sugar content. If you’re a cola drinker, that should be your main reason to quit.

Get FooducatediPhone App Android App Web App  RSS or  Email

Follow us on twitter: twitter.com/fooducate on facebook: facebook.com/fooducate

  • LD

    Drinking 1000 cans a day, every day, “may” cause cancer, and this requires a warning label?

    Good grief.

    Drinking water may kill you. Perhaps bottled water should have labels on it indicating that drinking it may be deadly.


  • Homecookedhealthy

    Cancer or sugar addiction – humm, take your pick.  We dropped all soft drinks over a year ago.  Have never missed them and the difference to our immune systems and health is so overwhelming – why put this stuff in your body?  It doesn’t even recognize it as food.

    • Sam

      I dropped drinking all soft drinks. I have not had a cold or the flu in over two years. It must be true that drinking soft drinks lowers your immune system, and keeps a person over weight. All the sugar in our products that we buy is overwhelming.

  • Cass

    Carbonation is also horrible for you, it eats your stomach lining and pulls calcium and oxygen from the body.

    • Sam

      Just leave a nail in a glass of coke for two weeks and see what happens to the nail.

      • Carol

         The same would happen in your stomach (not that I’d recommend trying), which is bathed in hydrochloric acid (it keeps pH low so enzymes can break down foods).

  • Patrick

    Bring back Crystal Pepsi!

  • Katherine

    Wow that’s all I have to say.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1093254087 Sam Smith

    Bigger reason to quit sodas is the pH level. It is the same as that of battery acid.

    • Simba

      Your body regulates ph pretty well, so this would mostly affect your teeth, which everyone knows sodas, sweets, and fruit are awful for anyway.  I got a distinctive erosion of my teeth as a kid from eating too many citrus fruits, especially lemons. Dentist read me the riot act.

  • Pingback: Back in the News « Chocolate Covered Lily Beans

  • Stephanie

    Soda (and diet) should include “Warning: May casue obesity”

    • Wildbrookie

      Soda does not make one fat….being lazy makes you fat. Drinking soda while being lazy. Time to stop blaming products for the outcomes our own lifestyle choices. Anything and everything “may” cause cancer. All dependent on your own body’s reaction to it. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rosario-Araiza/100002999132011 Rosario Araiza

    what the hail are they putting in OUR food !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOSH MANN if woud of known 5 years ago,i ‘d brung my own lunch !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! fuck the poops that make “pink slime”

  • Pingback: BREAKING: Coke, Pepsi to Slash 30% of Sugar from Colas | Fooducate

  • guest

    Ask anyone who knew my mom what her favorite food was, and they would say “Pepsi”. My mom died from leukemia 3 years ago. I know leukemia isn’t caused by any one factor, but, as the doctor said, “It’s like a train wreck. Many, many factors have to converge at the same time to cause leukemia.” Still, it makes you wonder…This makes me so sad.

  • Pingback: Fun and Nutritious? Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Caramel Nut Cereal Review | Fooducate