London: An influential health lobby group has urged the US government to ban an artificial brown colouring agent used in Coca-Cola and Pepsi, warning that the ingredients could cause cancer. “The caramel colouring used in Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and other foods is contaminated with two cancer-causing chemicals and should be banned,” the Daily Mail quoted the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a health lobby group based in Washington, DC, as saying.While pure caramel is made by melting sugar in a saucepan, the artificial brown colouring in colas is made by reacting sugars and ammonia and sulphites under high temperatures and pressure. “Chemical reactions result in the formation of two substances known as 2-MI and 4-MI which in government-conducted studies caused lung, liver, or thyroid cancer or leukaemia in laboratory mice or rats, said the CSPI.America’s National Toxicology Program said that there is ‘clear evidence’ that both 2-MI and 4-MI are animal carcinogens, and therefore likely to pose a risk to humans.
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