The safety of our products is a top priority and we comply with regulatory guidelines everywhere we do business. We understand that some consumers and other stakeholders have questions about the safety of the caramel coloring used in some of our products. We strive to understand and be responsive to consumer concerns, while ensuring the safety of our products in compliance with the recommendations of regulatory authorities.
To the World:
Caramel coloring was introduced as a food and beverage ingredient in the early 20th century. Today, it is used to color a wide variety of food and beverage products, including carbonated soft drinks, snack foods and baked goods. Some consumers have expressed concerns about perceived health risks associated with a chemical, 4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI), that can form at low levels during the caramelization process.
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 has been and continues to be approved by regulatory authorities. For example, caramel colors have been deemed safe for use in foods and beverages by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority and Health Canada.
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 since been implemented around the world. Throughout this process, there was no change to the overall Pepsi-Cola product or its 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.
April 5, 2023