Photo by Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images.
Your ice cold cola is slated to get a very minor makeover as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola tweak the recipes of one of the ingredients in their soft drinks to meet a new California health regulation.
The Associated Press reports that the beverage giants are changing how they produce the caramel coloring used in their sodas in order to reduce the amount of ammonia sulfite, a carcinogen that has been linked to cancer in animals by consumer advocates.
The cola makers say the changes have already been made to those soft drinks sold in California—where a state law requires any beverage containing a certain level of the carcinogen to come with a cancer warning label—and will soon be rolled out nationally to streamline the production process.
The soft drink industry is stressing that the move was designed to avoid putting a potentially sales-hurting warning label on cans and bottles, and says it was not done as a result of the health concerns, which a Coca-Cola spokesman called "scientifically unfounded."
For its part, the FDA says that the chemical is only dangerous in huge quantities and even the biggest cola lovers likely have nothing to fear. "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 federal agency said in a statement.
The American Beverage Association, which represents both companies, said soda consumers won’t notice any difference in the taste once the change goes into effect.
Clarification: An earlier headline for this post suggested that the cola makers were changing their soft drink recipes. In reality, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are making a change to how one of the ingredients in their recipes is made.