Coke Clarifies That It Is Not Changing Its Recipe In Wake Of Study

Quit your whining, Coca-Cola aficionados — the company is not changing its recipe for Coke after a consumer group study claimed the caramel color they use causes cancer. While they’re disputing the study, they are also clarifying that they’re just asking caramel suppliers to modify their processes in making the color. reports on the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s pronouncement that 4-methylimidazole, also known as 4-MI or 4-MEI, is a carcinogen, prompting California to list it as such. The CPSI petitioned the Food and Drug Administration a year ago to ban the compound, and did so again this week.

The FDA isn’t totally onboard with the CPSI, however, saying in a statement that they’re reading the new petition, but that “it is important to understand that a consumer would have to consume well over a thousand cans of soda a day to reach the doses administered in the studies that have shown links to cancer in rodents.”

Coca-Cola stressed the fact to Consumerist that the formula for Coke is not changing, not one little bit, despite reports that they were tweaking it.

Says spokeswoman Diana Garza Ciarlante:

We have directed our caramel suppliers to make the necessary manufacturing process modification to meet the requirement of the State of California’s Prop 65. That process change ensures that no warning label would be required on our products. We firmly believe that there is no public health risk that justifies any such change, but 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.

Now, it’s important to note that while we have asked our caramel suppliers to modify their manufacturing processes, those modifications do not change our product. The caramel color in all of our products has been, is and always will be safe.

Previously: CSPI Asks FDA To Ban Caramel Coloring Used In Coke, Pepsi And Other Stuff You Like

Coca-Cola Modifies Caramel Color To Avoid Cancer Warning Label [NPR]


Edit Your Comment

  1. shepd says:

    We aren’t going to change our recipe, you see. We’re just going to change the definition of one of the items in it.

  2. mingtae says:

    Well over a 1000 8 once cans per day? Well, I’m screwed.

  3. sirwired says:

    Really the fix that needs to be made is to CA’s rediculous Prop 65. Pretty much every single business in the entire state posts one of those stupid Prop 65 signs, and as a result, the signs are utterly worthless. (There is cottage industry of lawyers that look for business that forget to post the sign suing the business and collecting a decent sum when they find a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner in the break room…)

  4. Cat says:

    Coke: You can keep the 4-methylimidazole if you get rid of the HFCS.


  5. nbs2 says:

    *sigh* CSPI. Not CPSI. One time would be a typo, and merit mocking of the editing process. Twice suggests something closer to illiteracy, but I’m not sure what. Of course, were I to suggest that Mary Beth is Phil with a dress…

    Anyway, back on topic.

    I do find it entertaining that as soon as I saw the intro paragraph, I was sure that the “consumer group” in question would be CSPI. As they are the source of these claims, I feel nothing more than a desire to advise people that they should move along, there is nothing of value to be gained here. If anything, Prop 65 has been an frustrating-for-suppliers lesson in how government regulation can cause people to ignore real concerns. When I see the Prop 65 warning nearly everywhere I go when I’m in CA, I find that I start to ignore it. If I do notice it, I presume that it is some overblown bit of pointlessness – which may one day be to my detriment when a warning on a product of real concern is ignored.

  6. gman863 says:

    Can you say “Crystal Pepsi”, boys and girls?

    I knew you couldn’t – just like consumers ten years ago.

  7. tacitus59 says:

    Hmmm … I do think that if it turns out to be based on bad science that CPSI should have to pay all companies involved for the expenses related to the change. If you use animal models everything “causes” cancer, whether they really do or not.

  8. The Twilight Clone says:

    Just stop drinking pop altogether and you’ll be fine. Until something else gives you cancer, I suppose.

  9. Sarek says:

    Does this mean they won’t put back the cocaine in Coke?

  10. Coffee says:

    Just do everyone a favor and make Mexican coke in glass bottles. Yes, I’ll pay a premium.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      Indeed. Of the crappy ingredients in Coke, I’m more concerned with the shit-tasting HFCS than the caramel color.

  11. Blueskylaw says:

    Even Original Coke technically isn’t the original Coke; unless John Pemberton created Coke using High Fructose Corn Syrup back in 1886.

  12. morpheus4356 says:

    Oh god, not CSPI. CSPI is a vegetarian group that promotes junk science in order to further its agenda of trying to control what people eat. If you’ve ever watched the movie “Fathead” you can see how hypocritical and idiotic they really are.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      My mom is 79 and she has been drinking coca-cola since she was a little girl. This so-called study is pure BS and who’s to say that some people are not more prone to getting cancer in the first place without drinking coke? Or how can they prove they would get cancer anyway? Based on how much coke their drink? One can per day? Two cans per day? One can per week? No coke? That is how you base studies by having different study groups and these take years to complete. I think this is another scare tactic and it is baseless.

  13. Memtex784 says:

    At least you can use Coke for rusty bolts.

  14. LorgSkyegon says:

    So basically what the FDA is saying is that the cancer risk of the caramel color in Coca-Cola is less than the risk of water poisoning from needing to drink 60+ gallons of soda a day?

  15. thomwithanh says:

    Time to bring back “New Coke”