Beverage powerhouses PepsiCo and Coca-Cola will modify the caramel coloring in their sodas to avoid a cancer warning label that a new California law requires when drinks contain a certain amount of carcinogens.
The state of California added ammonia sulfite, or 4-MI, to its list of known carcinogens last year. Along with the state list, a consumer group known as the Center for Science in the Public Interest claimed a chemical in the sodas’ coloring is linked to cancer in animals and exceeds allowable levels in U.S. food supply.
The FDA told Reuters a person would have to drink 1,000 cans of soda every single day to hit the threshold risk of animals.
The label is only required in California, but both companies made national changes to simplify manufacturing. The two companies account for about 90 percent of all soda creation in the country.
“While we believe that there is no public health risk that justifies any such change, we did ask our caramel suppliers to take this step so that our products would not be subject to the requirement of a scientifically unfounded warning,” a representative for Coca-Cola, Diana Garza-Ciarlante, told the Associated Press in an email.
The American Beverage Association told ABC News that soda drinkers will not notice a difference in the products and should not be worried about health concerns.
There may not be a genuine cancer risk in these sodas, but Dr. Richard Besser, chief health and medical editor for ABC News, said these drinks have other major health indications, including obesity.
“If you wanted to do one thing for your health, just one thing that you could do today that would have the biggest impact, it would be cut out your sodas, cut out your sweetened beverages because cancer is not the risk,” Besser told Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” today.
“You’re more likely to die from diabetes that’s linked to obesity that’s linked to all these sweetened beverages than you ever have to worry about the caramel,” he continued. “It’s unbelievable. You will lose pounds just from that one simple change.”