PepsiCo relies on scientific literature and the recommendations of experts and regulatory bodies to ensure that the ingredients used in our products are safe for human consumption. Extensive research conducted over decades and published in scientific literature has repeatedly established that caramel colorings, and the foods and beverages they are in, are safe. As a result, the use of caramel colorings in food and beverage products continues to be approved by regulatory authorities. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority, and Health Canada consider caramel colorings to be compliant with the required safety specifications for use in foods and beverages.
4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI) is a chemical compound that can form at low levels in caramel coloring during the cooking process. When regulations for 4-MEI were instituted in California, we moved immediately to reformulate our cola beverages with a caramel color that lowered the amount of 4-MEI in our products, and these changes have been implemented around the world except where local regulations prohibit import of the caramel. Throughout this process, there was no change to the overall Pepsi-Cola product or the product’s great taste, which consumers know and love.
PepsiCo will continue to monitor the recommendations of regulatory authorities around the use of caramel colors, to ensure that our products continue to meet the highest quality and safety standards.