(Margaret Wahito) Coca-Cola East Africa has flatly denied claims by a US watchdog group study, suggesting that its sodas contain a compound that increases the risk of getting cancer.
They have slammed claims that their sodas contain excess 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) compound, which is found in the caramel coloring of the beverage.
4MEI compound is a byproduct formed in certain foods and beverages during the normal heating and browning process and possibly as a byproduct of fermentation.
Coca-Cola East Africa General Manager Peter Njonjo said the health risk report is malicious and aimed at discouraging consumers from taking the product, which has had a problem free run for more than 126 years.
“We take this early opportunity to unequivocally reject the irresponsible and malicious claims by the CSPI. We reassure consumers and stakeholders that the caramel colour in all our products has been, is and always will be safe,” emphasised Njonjo.
Technical Director Coca Cola East Africa Deepak Nilangekar added that there is need for more research to show how harmful the 4MEI compound is, while terming the report as false.
“If a scientific background person would look at these reports, they are contradicting. So you would directly reject those reports. But not only that, this particular agency has picked up only one portion of the report, “said Nilangekar
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) last week released a study claiming that it found unsafe levels of chemical agents used to make caramel colour in cans Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Inc companies.
However the US regulators have also said that the soft drinks from the companies posed no health risk.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration; “there is no scientific evidence that caramel colour, used in colas as well as many other foods, causes cancer in humans.”
Speaking to Capital News, nutritionist Wanjiku Wairia Lumula, said that a person would have to drink more than 1,000 cans of soda a day to have any negative effects.
“I always preach moderation in what we consume, because I do not believe that one single thing is bad. You must find balance in life. Even the purest of all things like water; too much of it is not good, “she advised.