Pepsi One is Loaded with a Known Carcinogen

The LA Times reports that Pepsi One is loaded with a chemical known as 4-methylimidazole:

California added the chemical to its Proposition 65 list of carcinogens in 2011. That required any food or beverage to carry a health warning label if it exposed consumers to more than 29 micrograms of 4-MeI a day.

A study released Thursday by Consumer Reports magazine says at least two soft drinks come close to breaking that rule: Pepsi One and Malta Goya.

Twelve ounce cans of Pepsi One, a low-calorie soda, contained as much as 43.5 micrograms of 4-MeI in California tests. Malta Goya, a nonalcoholic malt beverage, reached 352.5 micrograms in California.

Pepsi’s excuse? People only really drink two-thirds of a can, so it’s not so bad. I’m not making that up.

(h/t Attorney Seth Okin)
  • muselet

    California acted out of an excess of caution. That is emphatically not a bad thing, but it’s bound to lead to confusion.

    The FDA and California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment both have good summaries of what 4-MeI is and what the risks are (nickel summary: you can’t avoid it because it’s a byproduct of cooking, and the risks are apparently fairly low but research is ongoing).

    I am vaguely amused to note that Crystal Pepsi, a caffeine-free cola made without caramel coloring, was a disastrous failure a couple of decades ago.

    And food manufacturers started playing games with serving sizes as soon as they had to provide nutritional information. Single-serving packages (of junk food, especially) typically claim 1.5 servings per package.


    • Sabyen91

      Huh, I didn’t know Crystal Pepsi was caffeine-free. Learn something old every day.

  • Toolymegapoopoo


  • Kennet

    In Pepsi’s defense, you can easily turn their cans into a crack pipe and bottles into water bongs so the whole 4-MeI thing is negligible, right?