Caramel color, a common ingredient in colas and other dark soft drinks, has turned out to be carcinogenic, according to recent studies.
The researchers at the University Bloomberg School of Public Health says that 44 to 58 % of people over 6 years of age usually have at least one can of soda every day, even more, exposing themselves to a human carcinogen 4-methylimidazole or 4-MEI, that formed as some kind of caramel colour.
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“Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes, ” says Keeve Nachman, PhD, senior author of the study and director of the Food Production and Public Health Program at the CLF and an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “This unnecessary exposure poses a threat to public health and raises questions about the continued use of caramel coloring in soda.”
The samples used in the study mostly came from California and New York, regarding to which researchers noted that soft drinks in California tend to have lower levels of 4-MEI than the samples sold outside the state of California. This is because food and drink manufacturers are compelled by the California state law to post warning labels on any products that expose consumers to more than a specific amount of 4-MEI each day.
US Food and Drug Administration has been petitioned to set limits for this potential carcinogen ingredient last year.