The Center for Science in the Public Interest called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of certain caramel coloring in foods and sodas including Coca-Cola and Pepsi products, pointing to research that showed the additive caused cancer in lab mice and rats.
The FDA noted that the additive is on the list to be reviewed at the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer now under way in France.
The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo referred all requests for comment to the American Beverage Association, which sent Consumer Ally a statement strongly challenging the Center for Science in the Public Interest's petition to the FDA to ban the additive 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI).
"4-MEI is not a threat to human health," the association said. "There is no evidence that 4-MEI causes cancer in humans. No health regulatory agency around the globe, including the Food and Drug Administration, has said that 4-MEI is a human carcinogen. This petition is nothing more than another attempt to scare consumers by an advocacy group long-dedicated to attacking the food and beverage industry."