The Center for Science In The Public Interest is calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the caramel color used in some sodas and foods. Soy sauces, steak sauces, dark beers, syrups and the popular Coca-Cola and Pepsi sodas may all contain this chemical color additive.

The Center for Science In The Public Interest is asking the FDA to ban Caramel IV and Caramel III, both made with ammonia. The color additive is also know as, 4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI).

The American Beverage Association stated that 4-MEI is safe and is not a human carcinogen.

Coca-Cola released the following statement:

Our beverages are completely safe. Ensuring the safety of our products and maintaining the confidence of consumers are the most important priorities for The Coca-Cola Company.

CSPI’s statement irresponsibly insinuates that the caramel used in our beverages is unsafe and maliciously raises cancer concerns among consumers. This does a disservice to the very public for which CSPI purports to serve. In fact studies show that the caramel we use does not cause cancer. Further, the caramel we use does not contain the 2-MEI alleged by CSPI.

4-MEI is found in trace amounts in a wide variety of foods and beverages, including Coca-Cola. In fact, it forms normally in the ‘browning reaction’ while cooking, even in one’s own kitchen.

These extrapolations by CSPI to human health and cancer are totally unfounded. We have a responsibility to challenge Mr. Jacobson’s statements and make the truth clear for the public.

It should be noted that often animal lab tests do not correlate directly to human testing. As of now, it seems the biggest risk for drinking soda is obesity.