In 2013, the Center for Environmental Health revealed test results that indicated PepsiCo had been hiding something about their eponymous beverage. The popular soft drink was found to contain alarming amounts of 4-Methylimidazole, or 4-MeI for short. 4-MeI is a carcinogenic compound that is formed during the process of making caramel coloring – the ingredient that gives Pepsi its iconic hue.
Of course, following the release of this information, PepsiCo dismissed the findings and did their best to deny its presence in their products. The company also denied the fact that 4-MeI was dangerous, and fought against California’s requirement that products containing 4-MeI needed to be labeled with a cancer warning. Regular Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi One all contain the toxic coloring agent. As if soda sales weren’t already plummeting fast enough, surely placing a warning label on the products wouldn’t help.
Finally, a settlement has gained preliminary approval from a federal judge in California following a class-action lawsuit. As part of the settlement, Pepsi has agreed to ensure that 4-MeI levels do not exceed 100 parts per billion in its products that are being shipped for sale within the United States. They are also supposed to adhere to certain testing protocols. However, whether or not they will hold up their end of the bargain remains to be seen.
Testing done by Consumer Reports in 2014 revealed that Pepsi products still contained astronomical amounts of 4-MeI, averaging more than 29 micrograms of the chemical per can or bottle. In fact, their testing revealed that the average can of soda manufactured by Pepsi contained between 25 and 43.5 micrograms of 4-MEI if it was found in California. New York Pepsi products were found to contain between 174 and 195 micrograms – which is appalling.
The amounts found in Californian Pepsi products show that they were in violation of common law and consumer protection statutes in California. Consumer Reports writes: “Under California’s Proposition 65 law, any food or beverage sold in the state that exposes consumers to more than 29 micrograms of 4-MeI per day is supposed to carry a health-warning label.”
Natural News notes that California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has set the cutoff for the toxin at 29 micrograms because that level creates a risk of cancer of one in 100,000.
Pepsi has not formally admitted that their products contain a cancer-causing ingredient, but they have at least agreed to a settlement. Will they adhere to their new guidelines? Who knows. They didn’t the first time, back when Prop 65 was introduced in 2012.