In a move to avoid being slapped with a cancer warning label, Coca-Cola is making an emergency recipe alteration that involves removing a known carcinogen from the mix. Showing that the company is more interested in preserving sales than actually ridding its products of known cancer-causing substances, the company chose to remove the toxic ingredient to avoid the warning label — not to actively protect the health of the consumer. The compound (used for the drinks’ caramel coloring), known as 4-methylimidazole (4-MI or 4-MEI), has been ousted by the Center for Sciences in the Public Interest as a powerful carcinogen.
In fact, the Coca-Cola company even denied the cancer link, stating that the findings by CSPI and others were simply untrue. Calling the warning label ‘scientifically unfounded’, Coca-Cola says that there is no public health risk that justifies any change.
“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,” Coca-Cola representative Diana Garza-Ciarlante told the Associated Press news agency.
As you may know, this coloring compound is not the only dangerous chemical contained in Coca-Cola products. Coca-Cola also contains high-fructose corn syrup, which is devastating the health of children and adults alike. It has also been reported that high-fructose corn syrup oftentimes contains mercury, which has resulted in many scientific organizations calling for immediate FDA action. One such organization, The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, is particularly concerned over the effect that the increased mercury exposure may have on children, such as the children who are actively consuming sodas containing high-fructose corn syrup.
“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered,” said Dr. David Wallinga, from The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
Diet Coke also contains aspartame, an artificial sweetener that has been shown to spawn tumors in rats the size of golf balls. In a study in which rats were given the sugar substitute, 67 percent of all female rats developed tumors roughly the size of golf balls or larger. In the 2 and a health year study, researcher Innes-Brown used a dose of aspartame equivalent to that of 14 cans of diet — a number considered ‘reasonable’ by the FDA (a 50mg per kilogram ratio).
Coca-Cola apparently sees no cause for concern regarding the excessive amounts of aspartame consumed by individuals who drink diet soda on a daily basis, just as they see no cause for removing cancer-linked 4-methylimidazole. Does public health come second to ensuring the stability of profits for the Coca-Cola company?