Coke and Pepsi are changing the manufacturing process of their famed soda drinks, in an effort to avoid being required to put a cancer label on their products' cans.
The state of California recently declared that a chemical used in the caramel flavoring, 4-methylimidazole or 4-MI, is a carcinogen. The change was made in an order to reduce the amount of the chemical that is found in many foods and popular beverages.
4-methylimidazole was added to the list of chemicals covered by California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 in January. High levels of that chemical have been linked to cancer in animals.
Coca-Cola insists that their drinks are safe for the millions of people who consume them every day. The reason that they are changing this specific process is to avoid placing a label on all of their cans.
"The caramel color in all of our products has been, is and always will be safe, and The Coca-Cola Company is not changing the world-famous formula for our Coca-Cola beverages. Over the years, we have updated our manufacturing processes from time to time, but never altered our Secret Formula," Coca-Cola spokesman Ben Sheidler said in an email.
The American Beverage Association, which represents the soda industry, said that the beverage companies will still continue use the same caramel coloring in certain products, but that the adjustments to the recipe will not change the taste.
"Consumers will notice no difference in our products and have no reason at all for any health concerns," the association said in a statement.
They also explained that it would take a far greater amount than anyone could consume to possibly be effected.
"A person would need to drink more than 2,900 cans of cola every day for 70 years to reach the lowest dose-levels mice received in the single study upon which California based its decision," according to the statement from the beverage association.
Coca-Cola issued the following statement to The Christian Post:
"The caramel color in all of our products has been, is and always will be safe, and The Coca-Cola Company is not changing the world-famous formula for our Coca-Cola beverages. Over the years, we have updated our manufacturing processes from time to time, but never altered our Secret Formula.
"We have asked our caramel manufacturers to modify their production process to reduce the amount of 4-MEI in the caramel, but that will have no effect on the formula or on the great-tasting, high-quality products that consumers expect from us. These modifications will not affect the color or taste of Coca-Cola.
"Our commitment to the highest quality and safety of our great brands remains our top priority. And we will continue to rely on sound, evidence-based science to ensure that our products are safe."