Coke Pepsi to change cancer ingredient


PepsiCo Inc are making changes to the production of an ingredient in their
namesake colas to avoid the need to label the packages with a cancer

According to a report
which appeared on
, the change will not be noticeable to
consumers, according to statements from both companies. Coke and Pepsi
said on Friday that they had asked their suppliers of the caramel coloring
in their colas to alter their manufacturing process to meet the
requirements of a California ballot initiative aiming to limit people's
exposure to toxic chemicals.

"Consumers will notice no difference
in our products and have no reason at all for any health concerns," said
PepsiCo spokeswoman Gina Anderson in a statement. The change is meant to
reduce the amount of a chemical called 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI, which
in January was added to the list of chemicals covered by California's Safe
Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as
Proposition 65.

High levels of that chemical have been linked to
cancer in animals. The California statute says that "no person in the
course of doing business shall knowingly and intentionally expose any
individual to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or
reproductive toxicity without first giving a clear and reasonable warning

Coca-Cola spokesman Ben Sheidler said the modification to
the manufacturing process will have no effect on the formula, color or
taste of Coca-Cola. Both companies said they started in California, and
would expand the use of the reduced 4-MI caramel coloring over time. Dr
Pepper Snapple Group Inc said all the caramel color being produced for it
meets the new California standard.

Earlier this week, the Center
for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a US watchdog group, said it
found unsafe levels of the chemical in cans of Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Dr
Pepper and Whole Foods Markets Inc's 365 Cola.

The U.S. Food and
Drug Administration said at the time it was reviewing the group's petition
but stressed that the drinks were still safe. An FDA spokesman said a
person would have to drink "well over a thousand cans of soda a day to
reach the doses administered in the studies that have shown links to
cancer in rodents".

Shares of Coke and Pepsi were both up less
than 1 percent in afternoon trade, roughly in line with the Standard &
Poor's 500 index. Dr Pepper Snapple shares were up 1.1 percent at $38.12.

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