Read more about this byproduct here.
This byproduct is called 4-methylimidazole or 4-MI. It is produced when ammonia or ammonia sulfites are used to produce caramel color used in many food products. That's right ladies and gentlemen it does not do ANYTHING for taste and is only present to make the product look better. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) calculates that the levels of 4-MI in Pepsi, Coca Cola, Dr. Pepper, and even Whole Foods 365 Cola are responsible for causing approximately 15,000 cancer deaths in the US each year. The Archives of Toxicology found in a 2008 study that 4-MI is toxic and can be linked to clonic seizures, hyperactivity, impaired gait, chronic inflammation, fatty changes of the liver, and the same adenoma, carcinoma, and leukemia results as the NIEHS in the study above. Due to some of the resounding evidence on the harmful qualities of this byproduct, the CSPI petitioned the FDA to remove caramel coloring produced this was from the "Generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) list. Read the petition here. After the FDA refused this request, Californians have voted to have labels on food products relabeled with cancer warnings under the Californian Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.
Corporate beverage giants are currently trying to spin the story that 4-MI is safe while they try to figure out a way to produce caramel coloring with less 4-MI to meet threshold levels so they don't have to relabel. These same corporations are founding that the evidence mounting against this byproduct is "scientifically unfounded" and insuring us that the cancer link has not been found in humans. Unfortunately, these beverage giants won't be making changes nationwide to their labels, even though the CSPI study found an average of 140 mcg in each 12 oz can of cola! Less toxic methods have to be found to help protect the health of our nation.
What can you do to protect yourself and your family?
1) Talk to your legislature about your concerns.Click here to find out who to contact.
2) Read the labels on your food products and skim for caramel color. Beware that products containing caramel color have this byproduct present in varying quantities.
3) Switch to water! I've mentioned this numerous times but many of us are dehydrated and not getting enough water for our bodies or our joints to function properly.