Did Pepsi admit their soft drink contains a known carcinogen?

According to a research study published by Consumer Reports Tests, Pepsi, Pepsi One, Diet Pepsi and Malta Goya have higher levels of 4-Methylimidazole (4-MeI), a potential cancer-causing chemical, than other soft drinks,

There's no federal limit for levels of 4-MeI in foods and beverages. But since January 7, 2012, California has ordered manufacturers to label their products sold in the state with a cancer warning if it exposesusers to more than 29 micrograms of 4-MeI per day.

4-Methylimidazole is a known carcinogenic compound that is produced in the formation of caramel colouring.

In 2013, when the Center for Environmental Health released test outcomes exposing Pepsi for covering up the presence of huge levels of 4-Mel in its famous soft drinks, the company then rejected both the alarming facts and the evidence of the presence of this chemical in its beverages.

In California,a settlement in a class-action lawsuit against Pepsi has achieved preliminary approval from a federal judge. As part of the proposed agreement, Pepsi has agreed to ensure its caramel colouring's 4-Mel levels do not exceed 100 parts per billion in products that are being exported for sale within the U.S.

Is 4-Methylimidazole a Carcinogen?

The first group toraised a specific alarm about the carcinogenic potential of 4-MeI was the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), which released a study in 2007 suggesting that massively high doses of 4-MeI may have given female rats leukemia and also lung cancer in both male and female mice.

When the NTP research study was published in 2007, the State of California was given its first legal rationale to include 4-MeI in the Proposition 65 list. 

In January 2011, after a period of inspection, 4-MeI was added to California's Proposition 65 list, a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

4-Methylimidazole Level in Popular Soft Drinks – Consumer Report Test 2013

Referring to California's Proposition 65 list, the safe harbour level of 4-Methylimidazole is 29 micrograms per day.

Between April and September 2013, researchers tested 110 bottles of various trademarks of soda for the 4-Methylimidazole level. They detected the highest levels of this substance in various Pepsi products and Goya Malta, a malt-flavoured drink popular in Latin American communities.

Softdrinks containing the highest 4-Mel concentration

Safe Value (29 mcg per day)

Product Variety

4-Mel (mcg)

New York

4-Mel (mcg)


Malta Goya



Pepsi One



Diet Pepsi






Softdrinks containing a low 4-Mel concentration

Safe Value (29 mcg per day)

Product Variety

4-Mel (mcg)

New York

4-Mel (mcg)





Diet Coke



Coke Zero






Adapted from: Consumer Report Testsbetween April to September 2013

What Can You Do?

As popular brands including Pepsi failed to warn users that theirsoda contains known carcinogens, for now,if you want to limit your exposure to 4-MeI, the only option is to check ingredient lists for “caramel colour” or “artificial colour” and consume few, if any, products that list these ingredients on their labels.


There are 0 comments on this post

Leave A Comment