Unhealthy carbonated beverage issue gains momentum in the US
The ‘caramel colouring’ used in Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other dark coloured soft drinks contains a ‘carcinogenic’ substance which causes cancer. The Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Washington D C, filed a petition, on February15, with the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to ban two types of carcinogen chemicals which are often used or labelled as ‘caramel colouring’ mostly on products like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other dark coloured products.
The artificial brown colouring is made by reacting sugar with ammonia and sulfites under a very high pressure and temperature and those reactions result in the formations of 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole which can cause lung, liver, thyroid cancer and leukaemia. This was diagnosed on mice and rats when a study was conducted by the US government.
When the CSPI referred the study to the National Institute of Health National Toxicology, it found that both 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole were animal carcinogens. Whereas, the state of California recently added 4-methylimidazole to a list of “chemicals known to cause cancer.” The group is pressurising the FDA to require Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other companies to change their artificial colouring process or carry warning label.
We're asking the FDA to ban the use of caramel colouring that's used in colas and certain other soft drinks and a variety of other foods," Michael Jacobson, executive director of the CSPI, told the ABC News.
Caramel III, a type of colouring substance which contains only ammonia, is used in certain types of beer, soya sauces and other dark brown food products is also being targeted by the CSPI.
The FDA plans to review the matter on March 30-31.
Feb 24, 2011