Are you a fan of Pepsi or Coca-Cola? Perhaps both or maybe you don’t even have a preference. Well either way, both Pepsi and Coca-Cola have been found with high levels of 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), also known as an animal carcinogen. The high levels of 4-MI in Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Diet Coke, and Diet Pepsi have linked to the risk of cancer and has raised much concern for cola consumers.
The 4-MI chemical can be used to color certain foods into a brown color through a reaction between carbohydrates and amino-containing compounds. 4-MI can be found in roasted foods, grilled meats, coffee, and other types of items that contain a caramel color which is produced with an ammonia-based process. This exact chemical is used by Pepsi and Coca-Cola to create the signature caramel coloring cola. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) did a laboratory study of the companies; Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, Snapple Group Inc.’s Dr. Pepper, and Diet Dr. Pepper for the level of 4-MI found in these sodas. Now the CSPI is saying the chemical Pepsi and Coca-Cola are using for their coloring is exposing millions of Americans to the risk of cancer.
The interesting part to it all is that the chemical coloring that Pepsi and Coca-Cola uses is solely for creating the caramel color and has nothing to do with the flavor. If possible, the cola companies should find a substitute for the cancer causing chemical that can still create a brown color that is carcinogen-free at the same time. Since the discovery of the high levels of 4-MI has not just concerned the cola drinkers but most importantly the cola companies especially. The soda industry has noticed the major risks caused by 4-MI and are trying to find another way to color their sodas. The CSPI has estimated to cause 15,000 cancers in the U.S. population from Pepsi and Coca-Cola using the chemical 4-MI in their product. Pepsi has announced to CSPI that they have decided to change their coloring to a chemical that has less than 4-MI.
Personally, I am a huge fan of both Pepsi and Coca-Cola products and when I heard the high levels of 4-MI in their soda causes the risk of cancer made me nervous. However, I am glad the companies are noticing the harm and changing their products for the better. Pepsi and Coca-Cola are the two leading companies for the soft drink industry and for them not to change their products would only harm their brand and their loyal consumers.
What are your thoughts about the findings of high levels of 4-MI in Pepsi and Coca-Cola products causing cancer? Share your experiences; I would love to hear them. Thank you again for reading!