CSPI: Caramel coloring in cola products can cause cancer

February 17, 2011 2:35:39 PM PST
The Coca-Cola company is blasting a claim that caramel coloring in soda may cause cancer.

A ban could happen, if the Center for Science for Public Interest get's its way.

The ingredient 4-mei that gives soft drinks its caramel coloring can cause cancer in mice, according to a 2008 study.


The state of California now lists it as a carcinogen.

So the group is pushing the FDA for a nationwide ban.

"I don't want to exaggerate the potency. You're not going to get cancer if you drink a soda once in while, but the more you drink, the greater the risk," said Michael Jacobson, with the CSPI.

One doctor told ABC News, a person would have to drink 1000 sodas a day to get cancer.

Some doctors say if you're drinking large amounts of soda a day, your primary health concern isn't cancer.

"The other components to soda are more harmful with the risks to diabetes and high cholesterol from the high fructose corn syrup than the actual toxic potential for the chemical," said Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital.

The American Beverage Association fired back with this statement:

"There is no evidence that 4-mei causes cancer in humans. This petition is nothing more than another attempt to scare consumers by an advocacy group long-dedicated to attacking the food and beverage industry."