Are you drinking a Coke, a Pepsi, or any other type of dark soft drink while you’re reading this story? Then you may want to put that soda down for the moment as we explore the revelations of a new report.
The safety of the caramel coloring found in these and many other types of sodas has been called into question by new findings from Consumer Reports. Their research uncovered instances where an impurity called 4-methylimidazole can occur at various levels within the soda. Though not currently limited at the national level, the state of California has gone so far as to call this substance carcinogenic, and if levels are sufficient, a cancer warning must be affixed to the label of a given product.
The attorney general of California is currently looking into Consumer Reports’s findings to determine if action needs to be taken against any companies breaching this law in the state. A Pepsi spokeperson called into question the veracity of the study’s findings.
The Food and Drug Administration is taking this latest development seriously. Despite decades of research into caramel coloring that have yet to turn up any kind of safety issue, the agency intends to revisit the matter to determine whether they may have missed something or if caramel coloring could pose a hazard to beverage drinkers.