Coke and Pepsi are famous rivals and are always engaged in a bitter battle between one another for supremacy in the soft drink category. However, there is one thing they seem to agree on. Having a cancer warning on their products is a bad thing.
A recent initiative in California would force anyone using certain suspected carcinogens in their products to provide a cancer warning on their packaging, similar to what is seen on cigarettes and tobacco products. Apparently Coke and Pepsi both use one of the chemicals identified as potentially cancer-causing as part of the caramel coloring that gives their products their familiar appearance. Both companies are scrambling to alter their formulas to eliminate the need for the chemical known as 4-methylimidazole. It is expected that a safe alternative can be found, and both companies indicate that customers will not be able to tell a difference in the products.
Basically, the new law in California makes it illegal for anyone to intentionally expose someone to a chemical that has shown signs of being dangerous. 4-methylimidazole has been linked in studies to cancer in animals. To make matters worse, the Center for Science in the Public Interest tested both Coke and Pepsi last week and found troubling levels of the chemical in both. The Food and Drug Administration is investigating the matter as well, but they are stressing to the public that the drinks are safe, and a person would need to drink many, many cans of soda to come close to the amounts of the chemical that was causing cancer in animals in laboratory testing. Reassuring, huh?