Coca-Cola and Pepsico, companies that account for nearly 90 percent of the soft drinks market in the United States have decided to change the formula of its main drinks to prevent California authorities legally require them to enter a cancer warning the labels of their bottles.
The new formula will contain less amount of a chemical used to provide the characteristic caramel color of these drinks-4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) – a compound that California has added to its list of carcinogens. The dye used in these drinks appears, naturally, in the process of preparing and cooking and is present in many products, including in the home-made, such as dairy desserts, vinegar or custards. The change has already been introduced in California and will spread throughout the U.S., where these companies have asked suppliers of this dye to change its production process to reduce levels of 4-containing MEI, which does not alter the color or the taste of the product. In Spain, the National Association of Soft Drink Manufacturers nonalcoholic ensures that the caramel color used by cola is also “present in many foods and beverages”, and in all cases, it is safe for all citizens who consume . They insist that the presence of 4-MEI in the caramel is produced during the heating process, the roasting, grilling or cooking, and is found in small amounts in consumer products, including baked goods, coffee, bread, honey, sauces and so forth. However, they say, their use is authorized by the U.S. Agency for Drug and Food Safety Agency, which regularly issues opinions that established the safety of this dye.