Cola and Caramel Color: NPR (National Public Radio) Audio Story

08 March, 2012
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Cola and Caramel Colour: NPR (National Public Radio) Audio Story


Louisville, KY, USA – (March 7th, 2012) — Allison Aubrey of National Public Radio reports on cola recipe developments in response to regulatory requirements in California. Click here to read the full article at NPR’s website.


The NPR report also interviews DDW CEO Ted Nixon, who told NPR:


“Caramel colour is now — and has always been — safe and harmless.”


Listen to the full audio report, including the NPR interview with Ted Nixon, here.




There’s never been a study showing a health risk from caramel colouring, and as, Nixon says, “We take food safety and product quality very seriously.” DDW has participated in millions of dollars of safety studies over the past forty years, all of which have concluded that caramel colour is safe and harmless.


What is 4-MeI?


4-MeI is not an additive; it is naturally formed through the browning reaction that occurs when foods and beverages are cooked, roasted, broiled or grilled. In the video below, industry expert Margaret Lawson, Chief Science Officer at DDW, explains that 4-MeI is “very ubiquitous and found in numerous commonly consumed foods.”




Extremely low levels of 4-MeI (which CSPI incorrectly refers to as 4-MI) can be found in hundreds of home-cooked or store-bought food and beverage products, including chicken, beef, vegetables, various meat products, soups, gravies, coffee beans, sauces, baked goods, pet foods, and more. While some caramel colours – a common ingredient produced through the process of cooking sugar or corn syrup – can contain trace levels of 4-MeI due to the caramel creation process, these trace amounts are not harmful to humans. On the contrary, there has never been a study that showed any connection between 4-MeI and cancer in humans. You can find more information here and here.


The Bottom Line: Caramel is Safe, Sources Agree


The NPR article quotes the American Beverage Association as well as the United States Food and Drug Administration, both of which agree that caramel colour is not a threat to human health.


“This is nothing more than CSPI scare tactics, and their claims are outrageous,” says the American Beverage Association in a statement on the official website. “The science simply does not show that 4-MEI foods or beverages is a threat to human health.”


“It is important to understand that a consumer would have to consume well over a thousand cans of soda a day to reach the doses administered in the studies that have shown links to cancer in rodents,” says Douglas Karas, spokesperson for the United States Food and Drug Administration.


DDW maintains a page of useful facts, scientific studies and other information about caramel colour. To learn more, visit

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