Coke Finally Caves to Pressure & Changes Its 'Secret' Recipe

caramel color in sodaSoft drink companies learned the hard way in the '90s that Americans aren't so keen on clear colas. But the recent scare over caramel color in colas has me nostalgic for Crystal Pepsi and -- I never thought I'd say this -- even Clear Tab.

The controversy about caramel color isn't new: As you can see in the video below, consumer advocacy groups have been pressuring the FDA to ban the chemically derived dark brown coloring used to add visual appeal to everything from colas and beer to soy sauce and bread because animal tests suggest large doses can cause cancer. The American Beverage Association has struck back, calling these reports "outrageous" and nothing more than "scare tactics."

But then Coke made an interesting announcement today that seems to fly in the face of this statement and has everyone scratching their heads ...


A spokesperson from Coca-Cola told NPR that it is making modifications to its formula and reducing the levels of 4-MI (a known carcinogen) in its caramel coloring. And the changes are already starting to go into effect.

Now, the soda company has made it very clear that caramel coloring in all Coke products has always been safe. In fact, you would have to drink more than 1,000 cans of Coke in one day to reach the chemical level associated with cancer in rodents. Then why switch the recipe? It's simple really: So it can meet the strict health requirements in the State of California and ultimately avoid the cancer warning label that is found on each can.

That sounds believable enough, except if you watch this video, which will scare you away from caramel color for good and make you wonder if perhaps there might be more to the story:

See what I mean? Suddenly, clear colas don't seem so unappetizing. But even then we still have all that sugar and acidity to worry about. What to do, what to do ...

Do you drink a lot of soda?


Image via yaybiscuits/Flickr

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