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Coca-Cola alters its secret formula

Saturday, 10 March 2012 - 1:32pm IST | Place: NEW YORK | Agency: The Daily Telegraph

Coca-Cola is changing the formula in the US to avoid having to display a warning that they contain cancer-causing chemicals.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi are changing their secret formulas in the United States to avoid having to display a warning that they contain cancer-causing chemicals.

The state of California now requires that the packaging of food and drink with the additive 4-methylimidazole (4-MI) be clearly labelled with a cancer warning.

To comply with the new law, which was passed following a campaign by consumer rights groups, the two cola firms are switching the type of caramel they use to give the drinks their distinctive brown colour.

Although the change was necessary only in California, both companies will alter their recipes nationally to avoid complicating the manufacturing process. The Coke formula will remain the same in Britain, as the drink complies fully with European safety laws. PepsiCo did not comment on whether it would keep its current recipe outside America.

The companies deny that the additive is cancer forming. Tests have shown that 4-MI can lead to increased tumours in animals, but no reports have been linked to humans.

A spokesman for Coca-Cola said: "The company has made the decision to ask its caramel suppliers to make the necessary manufacturing process modification, to meet the specific Californian legislation. Those modifications will not change our product.

"Caramel is a perfectly safe ingredient and this has been recognised by all European food safety authorities."

Doug Karas, a spokesman for the Federal Drug Agency, said: '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."

The Daily Telegraph

091858 GMT Mar12

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