Coca-Cola, Co. and PepsiCo will both be making a major change to the manufacturing process of the caramel coloring used in their sodas in order to avoid being listed as a carcinogens. The change is a result of a new law in the State of California that mandates drinks containing a certain level of carcinogens come with a cancer warning label, something that would be very damaging for the soft drinks brands.
Diana Garza-Ciarlante, a representative for Coca-Cola Co., said Thursday that the company has modified their manufacturing process to reduce levels of the chemical 4-methylimidazole found in their soft drink products. 4-methylimidazole is formed during the cooking process of the caramel coloring and may be found in trace amounts in many food products. Under the new California legislation, the amounts found in both cola products would be enough to warrant a warning label to alert consumers about the potential risks involved with consuming the product.
Both companies insist that consumers should expect no change to the look or taste of each cola product. While Coca-Cola, Co. and PepsiCo account for nearly 90% of the soda pop market, other smaller players in the market have also taken action to ensure their products meet the new standard set by the new California law. Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., manufacturer of Dr. Pepper and A&W Root Beer, has already made the same change to their products that contain the 4-methylimidazole chemical.
The news comes as interest around caramel coloring is becoming a hot topic with the general public and consumer advocacy groups that are suggesting that there are major dangers with the way these products are manufactured. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., recently filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of ammonia-sulfite caramel coloring.