Coke Eliminates Carcinogens, Will Pepsi Follow Suit?

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Coke Eliminates Carcinogens, Will Pepsi Follow Suit?

In California, there is a law which mandates that drinks containing a specific level of carcinogens must have a label warning of the cancer risks. Up until March, both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Inc. used caramel coloring which was found to contain carcinogens. The chemical that's causing concern in the caramel coloring is known as 4-Mel, or 4-methylimidazole. According to news articles online, both companies said in March that they would adjust their formulas nationwide; so far, Coca-Cola is the only one that seems to have followed through. While PepsiCo has already completed the process of cutting the amount of 4-Mel in its caramel in California, the process isn't slated to be completed for the rest of the U.S. until February of 2014. Spokespersons for the company said that the questionable chemical will be cut for products distributed around the globe, however they did not give a timeline as to when consumers could expect the change. Meanwhile, Coke products no longer test positive for 4-Mel in California or throughout the rest of the nation, according to watchdog group The Center for Environmental Health. The group recently had both Pepsi and Coke products tested after it commissioned a company in Metairie, LA, Eurofins Analystical Laboratory, to determine if any of the products still contained the carcinogenic chemical. While the California products manufactured by both PepsiCo and Coke contained no 4-Mel, all of the Pepsi products which were purchased outside of California were found to contain levels of 4-Mel that are four to eight times higher than safety levels allowed in California. How did Coke products fare in the testing? In nine of ten products purchased outside of California, no 4-Mel was found. It's important to note that cancer in humans has not been linked to trace amounts of 4-Mel. In fact, the FDA has stated that in order for a human to consume the amount of 4-Mel shown in research performed with rodents to develop cancer, a consumer would need to drink more than 1,000 cans of a soft drink per day. How will this news impact consumers? Will they consider drinking Coke products rather than Pepsi products until Pepsi either reduces the amount of 4-Mel in their products, or eliminates it? Considering PepsiCo and Coca-Cola companies account for 90% of the soft drink market in the U.S. according to Beverage Digest, this could potentially impact the popularity and sales of Pepsi products. One thing is clear: Neither Pepsi or Coke desired to put cancer warning labels on the products distributed in California! This is understandable, as concerned consumers would likely find this type of warning intimidating. Markem-Imaje is a world-wide leader in coding and marking systems, industrial traceability solutions and printing equipment. Rely on our team for cost-effective solutions to brand protection, diversion, traceability, and more.

January 10, 2014
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