News Releases & Statements
Beverage Industry Addresses Caramel Coloring And 4-MEI
"While some media outlets have reported that our member companies are ‘changing their recipes,' this is not the case. Our member companies will still use caramel coloring in certain products, as always. The companies that make caramel coloring for our members' soft drinks are now producing it to meet California's new standard, and it will be used in products nationwide. Consumers will notice no difference in our products and have no reason at all for any health concerns, as supported by FDA and regulatory agencies around the world. In fact, just this week FDA downplayed any health risks, noting that a consumer ‘would have to drink more than a thousand cans of soda in a day to match the doses administered in studies that showed links to cancer in rodents.'"
ADDITIONAL FACTS AND BACKGROUND
- Leading public health organizations have reaffirmed that caramel coloring, including the trace amounts of 4-MEI found in it, is safe for use in colas and countless other foods.
o On Monday, U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated, "A consumer would have to drink more than a thousand cans of soda in a day to match the doses administered in studies that showed links to cancer in rodents."
o In March 2011, following a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reaffirmed that the presence of 4-MEI in caramel coloring is not a health concern.
o In November 2011, Health Canada said that 4-MEI, including that found in certain caramel colors, does "not represent a risk" to consumers.
o The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved caramel as a color additive and lists it as a "generally recognized as safe" food ingredient.
o A National Toxicology Program (NTP) study does not even list 4-MEI as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" in its Report on Carcinogens (Source: Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition. http://1.usa.gov/iId3qz)
- California added 4-MEI to its list of carcinogens with no studies showing that it causes cancer in humans. California's listing was based on a single study in lab mice and rats. 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. And, the study showed a reduction of tumors in the lab rats tested.
- 4-MEI forms in foods, such as caramel, during the heating, roasting and cooking process and is virtually ubiquitous - found in trace amounts in foods and beverages that have been commonly consumed for decades, including baked goods, coffee, breads, molasses, soy sauce, gravies and some beers.
The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.