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A consumer watchdog group’s claim that some popular soft drinks contains a cancerous chemical has brought a rebuttal from the Food and Drug Administation, Reuters reports.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola and Dr. Pepper contain unsafe levels of 4-methylimidazole (4-MI) in their caramel coloring agents. “Coke and Pepsi, with the acquiescence of the FDA, are needlessly exposing millions of Americans to a chemical that causes cancer,” said CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson.
In response, the FDA said it would consider the group’s petition but consider the drinks safe. “A consumer would have to consume 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,” noted Doug Karas, an FDA spokesman, in a statement.
The FDA’s limit for 4-MI in caramel coloring is 250 parts per million (ppm) prior to its dilution in soda. The highest levels of 4-MI found by CSPI were about 0.4 ppm, according to Reuters calculations.
The American Beverage Association also issued a statement: “This is nothing more than CSPI scare tactics. In fact, findings of regulatory agencies worldwide… consider caramel coloring safe for use in foods and beverages.”