Because a dye in Coca-Cola is suspected of causing cancer, the US company is switching its production. The top secret recipe remains unchanged.
Tests on animals have shown that the substance 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI for short, can be carcinogenic in high doses. US consumer advocates are putting the soft drink manufacturer under so much pressure that it is converting its production in North America with immediate effect. In Germany, however, the recipe remains the same as the substance is classified as harmless here. 4-MEI was previously found in the coloring caramel of the soft drink. Now the Coca-Cola group is reacting to the demand of the consumer advocates: “We have asked our caramel manufacturers to change the production process in order to reduce the 4-MEI content”. The reason for the change is a change in California law. Since the beginning of the year, the substance has been on a US list of chemicals to be warned about. If the company did not reduce the amount of dye, a warning would soon have to be affixed to every Coca-Cola bottle. The reduction of 4-MEI should not change the product itself. “The Coca-Cola Company is not changing the world-famous recipe for our Coca-Cola drinks,” the company announced. It is controversial whether the dye is actually carcinogenic. When tested with a high dose of 4-MEI, more mice developed lung cancer. However, there are no studies on the danger to humans. A simple example from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is investigating the case, shows the low risk: In order to ingest the amount of 4-MEI that was administered to the mice, a person would have to drink more than 2900 cans of cola every day, for 70 years.