Bad news: Coca-Cola and Pepsi have a carcinogenic ingredient: 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI). More bad news: They are not taking it out, they are just reducing it to avoid having to display a cancer warning label in their cans and bottles.
4-methylimidazole is a molecule that forms during heating and browning processes, like those that may happen when you cook food. It can also be present in agricultural chemicals, dyes or caramel colouring.
The element has been included by the state of California in its list of known carcinogens after 4-MEI was linked to cancer in mice and rats in a scientific study. The US Food and Drug Administration, however, says that there's no risk: they claim that you would need to drink more than one thousand cans a day to take the same dose administered to the rats and mice who got cancer.
Do I really have to take them all in one day, Mrs FDA, ma'am? Because I can see some people having a thousand cokes a year. Perhaps California is doing this because she thinks she knows better even while we all know she spends her whole day surfing, hanging around smoking pot and checking Path in her iPhone.
That's what Coca-Cola thinks. They completely dismiss the findings and gives the finger to California's new regulation. Spokeswoman Diana Garza-Ciarlante told the AP that they have introduced the reduction in that ingredient so they "would not be subject to the requirement of a scientifically unfounded warning". High five, corporate America.
They have done this in California and they are rolling this ingredient reduction — not elimination — all across the US.
The American Beverage Association defended Coca-Cola and Pepsi's decision. They also dismissed the study and California state's move. They claim these studies offer no evidence of health risks to humans.
Whatever. Let them battle. If I have to get fat, I'd rather get fat by non-carcinogenic stuff. If possible, because at that point I'm starting to think everything is carcinogenic. I just like the taste of, you know, beverages made with actual sugar and no ingredients that I can't pronounce without spitting on whoever is in front of me and sounding like an imbecile. [AP]
Image: foto4lizze/Creative Commons.