Coke and Pepsi to Change Formula to Avoid Prop 65 Labeling

In follow up to previous articles, we note that a consumer group last week released a report that alleged that caramel colored sodas (Coke,Diet-Coke, Pepsi and Diet Pepsi) contain levels of 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) that reached a level of 7 in a million cancer risk. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, claims that the carcinogen forms when ammonia or ammonia and sulfites are used to manufacture the caramel coloring that gives those sodas brown colors. In conjunction with their report the group requested that the Food and Drug Administration revoke its authorization for caramel colorings that contain 4-MEI, and in the interim to change the name of the additive to ammonia-sulfite process caramel coloring or chemically modified caramel coloring for labeling purposes.

Although according to industry experts the amount of soda that would trigger these effects is excessive, Coca Cola and Pepsi recently announced that they were changing their formulas, because of California's Prop 65 law that would require labeling if, as alleged, these products exceed the 1 in 100,000 risk that triggers labeling requirements.

As we noted earlier a sixty day notice has already been served on certain grocers with respect to similar products. The sixty day notice is the first step in the Prop 65 private enforcement process.



Thursday, February 17, 2011 - Hosted by The Coca-Cola Company.

Please save the date for this first annual one-day CLE workshop sponsored by ABA’s Food and Supplements subcommittee that will include panels on the impact of federal statutory and regulatory reform on the food industry, state consumer laws and consumer class actions related to food packaging, labeling, and marketing, the evolving science of food safety and technology, ethical considerations in the labeling of bioactive foods, and in-house counsel's top predictions for the future of food regulation and litigation. Leslie M. Turner, General Counsel for Coca-Cola North America, will speak on "Protecting the Brand in the Food Industry" at our networking luncheon and a networking reception will follow the workshop.

Ricardo Carvajal from Hyman Phelps & McNamara and I will be moderating the panel on the impact of federal statutory and regulatory reform on the food industry.

More information and a full program agenda to come. Stay tuned.