United States District Judge Edward Chen ruled that Pepsi must conduct an investigation into unhealthy levels of a carcinogen in the caramel coloring of their nationally popular signature soft drink. The ruling combines nine class action lawsuits against Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi One, claiming that they all contain the carcinogenic 4-methylimidazole (4-Mel) that exceed maximum levels established by California Proposition 65. According to the law, the maximum limit of 4-Mel is 29 micrograms per day, and beverages containing more have been proven to be a significant cancer risk. A Consumer Reports study from 2014 revealed that 4-Mel levels in Pepsi drinks exceeded the limit, and contained the highest amount of the carcinogen than any other soft drink in its category.
The lawsuit claims that Pepsi Co. has known for quite some time that their drinks exceed the maximum safety level, and falsely gave the public the impression that they had complied with Proposition 65 when it was initially passed. With many consumers drinking more than a one 12oz serving per day, unhealthy risk of exposure to the chemical is greater than expected. “In particular…studies show that consumers who drink soda consume, on average, more than one 12-ounce serving per day. Assuming the facts alleged…to be true, a plausible inference that, where each serving of the Pepsi beverages contained more than 29 micrograms of 4-Mel, the average daily exposure to a consumer who drinks more than one serving per day exceeds 29 micrograms,” Judge Chen assessed.
The chemical 4-Mel is a byproduct in sodas as a direct result of artificial caramel coloring, and has been shown in laboratory tests to cause lung tumors in animals. It is the single most used food coloring in the world, and with lower 4-Mel alternatives available to manufacturers, it is confusing as to why beverage companies like Pepsi Co. feel they need to expose consumers to the unnecessary and easily avoidable risks that stem from consuming the chemical.
If you or your loved ones consume Pepsi soft drinks on a daily basis, you could be at risk. The lawyers at Hodes Milman Liebeck are here to help you with any issues that arise from company negligence. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call (949) 640-8222 for a complimentary case evaluation.