On Friday, Coca-Cola and Pepsi promised to lower levels of a chemical in their caramel coloring, 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), to comply with a California law, but insisted their recipes will not change and pose no health risks.
Coca-Cola spokesman Ben Sheidler said: “We are not changing our recipe; or our formula. What we did do is direct our caramel suppliers to make a manufacturing process modification in order to reduce the level of 4-MEI in our caramel so as to meet the requirement set by the State of California’s Proposition 65.”
In 1986, California voters passed Proposition 65 to protect residents from “chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals.”
California has ruled that high levels of 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) are shown to cause cancer in lab animals.
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