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Coca-Cola responds to cancer accusation

By Xu Chi (Shanghai Daily)

08:39, March 07, 2012

COCA-COLA China said yesterday that its products were safe to drink as it denied accusations by a consumer group in the United States that its soft drinks contained high levels of a cancer-causing chemical.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest said it had found "unsafe" levels of a carcinogenic chemical used to make caramel coloring in soft drinks, including Coca-Cola and Pepsi products.

The center is petitioning the United States Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of caramel coloring that contains chemicals 4-MEI and 2-MEI, which the group said were determined to be carcinogens by the State of California.

"These imidazole-containing colorings may be causing hundreds or thousands of cancers in the American population," said the group.

It said some research had shown that the additives had caused cancer in mice and rats under laboratory conditions.

In response, Coca-Cola China issued a statement on its official website, insisting: "Our beverages are completely safe."

"CSPI's statement irresponsibly insinuates that the caramel used in our beverages is unsafe and maliciously raises cancer concerns among consumers," said the statement.

"In fact, studies show that the caramel we use does not cause cancer. Further, the caramel we use does not contain the 2-MEI alleged by CSPI."

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