After earlier this week the media reported that the Center for Science in the Public Interest was requesting the Food and Drug Administration to ban the usage of 4 methylimidazole in beverages, Coca Cola and Pepsi reacted promptly. The compound at risk of developing cancer is a huge part of the two famous beverages as it is responsible for the caramel like color. Only a few days after the report went viral, Coca Cola and Pepsi have committed themselves to change their recipe.
Earlier this week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has requested the Food and Drug Administration to start an investigation over the usage of 4 methylimidazole by the beverage industry. The concern was that the compound was traced in recent samples of Coca Cola and Pepsi, one year after the state of California has listed it among known carcinogenic compounds.
Although the American Beverage Association has protested against the action, saying CSPI has outrageous claims since tests so far haven’t linked the said compound to human health threats, Coca Cola and Pepsi have decided to take action. However, it was not because they acknowledged the 4 methylimidazole isn’t safe for human consumption. The recipe change is their commitment to abide by the law of the state of California.
Coca Cola spokesman Ben Scheilder explained that the company has already undertaken the necessary steps to remove the said carcinogen, but only to meet the law requirements. Moreover, the company dismisses CSPI’s warnings as false. “Unlike CSPI, the The Coca-Cola Company deals in hard facts”, said Ben Scheilder. He continued his statement with the following: “fact: The body of science about 4-MEI in foods or beverages does not support the erroneous allegations that CSPI would like the public to believe”.
The spokesman emphasized several times that the 4 methylimidazole, also known as 4 – MEI, contained by the company’s products have never pose “health or safety risks”. “The caramel color in all of our ingredients has been, is and always will be safe. That is a fact” he continued the company’s pledge.
One thing is for sure. The more consumer advocacy groups look into Coke’s mystery recipe the more details surface that the fizzy drink isn’t exactly what the ads make it look like.