In Canada we call it pop but in the U.S. it is called soda, that carbonated beverage that is as ubiquitous as milk and juice. And in the world of sodas I am considered a Diet Coke aficionado. The enemy of Coke lovers is Pepsi and when I read this article last month I couldn’t help but go “aha, now I know why I don’t drink that infernal cola upstart.”
It seems that Pepsi has been using a coloring agent, 4-methylimidazole (4-Mel) which is a known carcinogen. It wasn’t until California changed product labeling disclosure requirements for cancer-causing agents that Pepsi acknowledged its use of 4-Mel. The company immediately removed the chemical from its California bottlers and plans to have it out of Pepsi in the U.S. by February 2014. My question is why isn’t it out of all Pepsi product formulations globally? What are the advantages of having 4-Mel, linked to cancer in any product sold anywhere?
Not to be too smug about it all it turns out the Coke also uses 4-Mel as a coloring agent but Coca Cola has already removed it from its formula for all U.S. bottling plants. So what’s stopping Pepsi from getting this done sooner? And what’s stopping both companies from removing 4-Mel from their formulas globally? Both have announced global plans to remove 4-Mel but no definitive timetable.
To those of you who are foresworn to never drink either product again, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated you would have to drink more than 1,000 cans of soda daily to get to the dosage levels used in cancer studies done with mice and rats.
Coke and Pepsi account for almost 90% of all soda consumed in the United States and both have watched their sales decline steadily throughout the last decade.