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FDA urged to ban soda ‘caramel’

By Reuters
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 16:54 EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some chemically enhanced caramel food colorings used in widely consumed cola drinks could cause cancer and should be banned, a U.S. consumer advocacy group urged the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday.

Pure caramel is made from melted sugar; but two other versions approved to color food products include the chemical ammonia and produce compounds shown to cause various cancers in studies of animals, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said in a statement.

The group is petitioning the FDA to ban the ammonia-containing caramels, which are also used in other dark-colored soft drinks.

Coca-Cola Co, the world’s top soft drink maker, said the caramel it uses does not cause cancer. It said its cola only contains one of the compounds cited by CSPI, and that the compound — formed in the “browning reaction” while cooking — is found in trace amounts in a variety of food and drinks.

PepsiCo Inc referred a call to the American Beverage Association, while Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc was not immediately available to comment.

Obesity is still a greater health threat from soda, the CSPI said. But the chemical reaction between sugar and ammonia can form carcinogens and “still may be causing thousands of cancers in the U.S. population,” the group said, citing animal studies conducted by government researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program.

“The American public should not be exposed to any cancer risk whatsoever as a result of consuming such chemicals, especially when they serve a non-essential, cosmetic purpose,” several of the NIH scientists wrote in a letter to the FDA.

CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson, in a statement, also said use of the words “caramel coloring” on food labels was misleading and should not be allowed.

The American Beverage Association fired back, calling CSPI’s claim a “scare tactic” and said there was no evidence that the compounds found in caramel coloring cause cancer in humans.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Bernard Orr)

Mochila insert follows.

Reuters
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  • Anonymous

    Why should we, the public, inconvenience the giant soft drink multi-national conglomerates? I say, let us get cancer! Yeah, after all, we should not interfere with the commerce and regulation of food products. So, the FDA regulates those foods and additives. What a drag on profits. Man, what is more American than getting cancer in support of big business?

  • Anonymous

    Screw ‘caramel’ what about aspartame?

  • Guest

    don’t have to convince me, watched my best friend who drank nothing but pop come down with leukemia at age 19.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmmm, ammonia must be the “secret” ingredient to coca cola’s secret formula. The meat-heads use ammonia to kill the ecoli in their process plants after the cattle are feed corn while standing knee deep in manure. At least we don’t feed the poor rice made out of plastic like the chinese do……yet, anyways.

  • Hassan i Sabbah

    If these consumer groups are looking for something to ban, they need to start complaining about food conglomerates sneaking the neurotoxin MSG into food under such names as “hydrolyzed soy protein” and the like so they don’t have to put it on the label. It literally took me years to figure out why I was getting migraine headaches after eating kosher hot dogs that had no obvious migraine triggers on the label.

  • Hassan i Sabbah

    Another instance where a migraine trigger has been renamed rather than removed from the food supply. They are now calling it AminoSweet and pretending it’s a “natural” sweetener.

  • Hassan i Sabbah

    What people don’t realize is that ammonia is a natural product of food decay, so just labeling it for the addition of extra ammonia is missing the whole issue of the ridiculously long periods during which food is supposed to remain “fresh” on the store shelf. The entire concept of “open” freshness dates fails to give the consumer the critical information she or he needs: When did this milk come out of the cow? Yesterday? 3 days ago? A week ago? This is important information, especially for someone who gets migraines, where the difference between getting a headache and not getting a headache often comes down to how long a particular kind of food has been rotting away on the shelf.

  • Guest

    “It’s a floor cleaner”! “No it’s a soft drink!” “No, it’s a floor cleaner!” “Wait! It’s both!”

  • Anonymous

    In the future, historians will see little difference between cigarette manufacturers and soft drink manufacturers. Both defend a product that is utterly useless, hazardous to human health, yet hugely profitable.

  • http://voxxrocks.com/blog/ HIStory Indeed

    First soda’s came under fire for Aspartame and the harm it caused when used in place of sugar. Then then it was found that HFCS was shown to feed cancer cell growth. Now caramel production puts the cherry on top and the trifecta is complete.

    Nothing is designed to outright kill you, that would lead to product banning. They’d much rather chip away at the human stone until there’s nothing left but a soulless meat carcass begging them for more of the same.

    Know that most mass produced manufactured foods and goods have been weaponized against you.

    Look into slaugher house processes, understand what consuming pesticides and GMO foods does to a human body, weight the side affects of medicines claiming to fix one thing while reeking havoc on unrelated systems or functions.

    Then choose what goes into the cart, to the home, to become you.

  • Anonymous

    Took an article from a women’s magazine to clue me to all the food triggers for migraines after being told by a doctor it was stress. It was actually canned Progresso lentil soup which my wife made all the time. I avoid almost all manufactured food except very simple ones.

  • DesertSun59

    How dare this article get out! Now producers of this caramel product and those who use it will be called upon to do the right thing. If they don’t, they’ll be told that regulation will be the only way to manage this clear and present danger to the public.

    But the GOP will tell you that no one should have the power to tell a corporation what to do to make money.

  • Anonymous

    Is it OK if I smoke this pot?

  • Anonymous

    glad i stopped drinking them..

    nothing but water and lemonade for me.

    seriously people.. you wont regret getting yourself off caffeine.. sure the morning is a bit rougher at the start.. but the fact is thats NATURAL and normal.. let your body and mind be the way it needs to be… wake up a bit earlier to give yourself time to really wake all the way up.. you feel so much better.
    but the one thing i REALLY noticed is that i can THINK more clearly now. before it was almost like a static or buzzing in my head.. that “buzz” for sure..

    i don’t miss it… and now the only thing i have to worry about is fluoride. haha.

    not sure what you should do if youre hooked on coffee, maybe drink a hot tea.. but if you love soda the way i did.. try drinking some naturally carbonated water for a while, and ICE cold to simulate that “bite” from the citric acid in soda… after about a month or so you wont remember why you ever liked sodas…
    at this point, when i try tasting them they taste DISGUSTING to me.. its crazy.. i used to drink NOTHING BUT sodas growing up.. my dad was always saying my bladder was going to dissolve by the time i was 30.. haha…

    its like trans fats and that stuff.. once you finally get yourself off fast and junk food.. you realize how horrible they really are..
    i had a weak moment a year ago and got some KFC hotwings because i remembered how much i LOVED them as a kid… it didnt taste the way i remembered it at all.. and i felt SICK for a whole damn week! like i had injected all my veins with crisco.

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ hounddogg

    a bowl of plastic rice with ammonia/caramel topping and a nice glass of melamine tainted milk…YUM!…life is good!…

  • http://voxxrocks.com/blog/ HIStory Indeed

    This comment box is reserved as a spacer between my comment and that dudes avatar….

    v
    v
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    v
    v
    v

    (edit – after posting I noticed I needed the v’s to actually create some space, lol)

  • Wyrdless

    Don’t forget beer and milkshakes :)

    Try getting a Berkey water filter they filter out fluoride.

  • Anonymous

    Ugh! I know you are quite correct, I am a morning coffee addict, 2 cups at most… I’ve found green tea to be pretty good, some lemon and local honey. I gotta cold right now so no coffee for me, but the green tea seems good. The caffeine from Green Tea might be more benign somehow… The other problem with the soft drinks is that how do you know the water they used is filtered? There are various tap water issues these days which these big drink makers profit off of when they sell bottled water but often the pricey bottled water is nothing but tap water that sits in the plastic bottle with all of that nasty offgas taste from the plastic. I’m thinking of getting one of those british Berkefeld water filters. They seem pretty good and inexpensive to operate. They might stop the flouride… A little pricey at first but there is no plumbing involved, just gravity and it’s portable and stainless steel.
    I wish they had the old seltzer bottles that you rent and take home in the wooden crate. Maybe it’s available somewhere… They had that in the 70′s and they also had real milkmen in the 70′s…
    Cast Iron and Glass is the future.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry dude, ice cold drinks are no good when the temp outside is 10F and the indoor temp is 62F to save energy.

    Ice is just about the worst way to waste energy that you can possibly think of. Each cube represents a pretty significant amount of petroleum needed for the energy to freeze it. Future generations will read your post and gasp in horror at the wasted energy.

  • Anonymous

    Jesus recommends Kaneh Bosem.
    (a little pricey with current market prices… but if you’re a farmer…)

  • Anonymous

    Its worse than that

    Aspartame is a hallucinogenic drug. It manipulates your brain into thinking you are tasting sweet when you are not.

  • Anonymous

    Dude you don’t eat the products of food decay

    The nasty smell of ammonia is a proper and natural way for your body to tell you “this is NOT food”

    “Natural” doesn’t mean it’s good to eat

    How long the milk has been out of the cow is irrelevant. You can open a fresh container of Parmalat milk that is months old and it will taste fresh and new.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t worry Coke and Diet Coke fiends no need for premature withdrawals, Warren Buffet is not going to let this happen! As long as there is a profit in any poison, that poison will be made readily available, that’s the capitalist creed!

  • Anonymous

    Soylent Green is sounding better and better.

  • Jaimie11

    They claim the filter rearranges the molecular bonds and what passes through is no longer fluoride. There was testing done on these filters by FEMA who contracted to purchase these filters for disaster use. The testing results are available online.

  • Jaimie11

    Let’s hope alternative sustainable green energy has been developed well before giving up on refrigeration is mandated.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHUR5LALBGRBDQ5VAKAL3JDKNU JustinB

    I wonder how much cancer we would have if we stopped drinking soda and stopped smoking cigarrettes?

    It’s amazing, when I cut out High Fructose Corn Syrup (basically all soda and many sauces), french fries, water instead of soda and replaced my unsweetened coffee with straight green tea I lost 40 pounds in less than 3 months. Was 182 got down to 142, now I’m 155 and climbing due to the holidays. I drank soda and had a lot of french fries.

    Anyone here believe in the “Gerson Diet?” It seems to be very effective fighting cancer. Google, “The Gerson Miracle” or “The Beautiful Truth.” I’ve seen “The Beautiful Truth” and its scary when they start piecing together a connection between our legislators, major chemical companies, and ways to incorporate these chemicals into our food as opposed to natural foods.

    It seemed like to me that these chemical companies have a huge pull in Washington. In the documentary they point out some of the names of these former officers of these chemical companies that went on to Washington. One name stuck out to me, Don Rumsfeld. It made think, here we have these major chemical plants producing chemicals that were in high demand years ago. With less demand these days, it seems these chemical companies have experimented with ways to use their product as cheap alternatives to natural food products as a way to increase or sustain revenue. The short term effects, food prices drop, jobs are saved (at the chemical plants), great things to happen while your administration is in office… The long term effects death, cancer, and many unknown/undocumented effects that won’t surface until some other guys administration.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Surely free markets would prevent corporations from murdering citizens for financial gain.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Just another reason to avoid drinking pop EVER. Better off drinking piss. Literally.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Yeah, at least it has nutritious content, if a little toxic.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    When a doctor cites “stress” it usually means “I dunno”.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    LOL Barnacle remover.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    I had part of a KFC chicken sandwich at a franchise in Chihuahua Mexico in 2005 and I am fairly certain it was either a deep-fried rat or a turtle. More likely a rat. It was so disgusting that I have not consumed any KFC since that day.

  • ladygeek

    You can still get seltzer supplies and the newest thing is the SodaStream. They are both on Amazon but that’s a starting point. The SodaStream is quite popular. I’ve been following it because I want one but I want it cheap!! I don’t know if it removes flouride or not but I don’t believe most of the rumors about flouridated water anyway. Flouride’s rumors are unfounded and not scientifically proven as true. I remember when I heard the rumor that flouridated water was a communist plot to kill Americans. Some of these rumors are absolutely hysterical.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah the oil we burn today is different from the oil we burn tomorrow

  • ladygeek

    When I was in treatment, one of the couselors taught an interesting class: first, making us watch the whole Lord of the Ring series in class and then during one lecture, told us that cops carry coke syrup in gallon jugs to spread on the street and wash away blood stains. I don’t know if that’s true or not but I thought it was an interesting story.

  • ladygeek

    I don’t eat canned soups anymore because they taste terrible. I make my own and it’s much better. I do admit that I buy organic stock with low salt because it’s faster and easier than creating my own stock. That soup tastes pretty good. I especially love making and eating organic bean soup

  • ladygeek

    is that what the chinese peasants eating now? it wouldn’t surprise me. Again, shop at the coop or the organic portion of the super market.

  • ladygeek

    My sister and her ex-husband were dairy farmers for a very long time until Ronald Reagan destroyed the family farm system in favor of corporate farming. In MN, corporate farming is not legal and the family farm is the basis of our farming economy. But now, since they’ve been able to ultra-pasteurize milk products to lengthen the shelf life of milk and milk products, the cows could be in China. So now, when you shop at Target, their milk products are all ultra-pasteurized so not only do they move human jobs to China, they also send their cows to China for milk production.

  • Anonymous

    Strangely, I prefer I dunno. Our current insurance system has made medicine sick.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. The canning process, even with no added preservatives triggers migraines so now I only eat soup made entirely from scratch, not even canned stock.

  • Anonymous

    This just in: Soda is bad for you. Film at 11.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, supposedly Hitler flouridated water in Poland to make the citizens apathetic, I think he used a lot of it. I’m not so concerned about it, it might be good for my teeth, but maybe those Berkefeld filters filter it out. It might be good to know about it if you want it or don’t. A few clicks at their websites will probably find that info. I’ll check out the SodaStream. That sounds pretty cool. I like seltzer too. But I’d rather have it from glass and not plastic. If you keep the drinks cold then they probably taste less like plastic. Heat probably makes the toxins dissipate into the liquid more. Of course there are bigger things to be concerned about like BP and corexit. If one dwells on these things too much it’s very possible to end up fringe or in the Looney bin, but in some ways you can’t blame such things from happening, although that doesn’t necessarily help anything. Slack helps. But maybe the flouride is to blame for the amount of apathy? There are many possible causes in the U.S. though, T.V. probably being the biggest cause… maybe blogging is up there as well? Or it makes you feel like you’re actually doing something until you notice 3 hours dissipated into the air… I better go walk the dog

  • Anonymous

    Cool, thanx for the info. I’m gonna save up for one. They (the Berkefeld water filters) seem better than Brittas and they might be cheaper to maintain, the filters might last longer and they can be cleaned. Plus I don’t think they contain plastic. Now I know about the flouride filtering! I saw them on Ebay. I also like how the company has been around over 100 years and were used to deal with Cholera etc.

  • Anonymous

    You can simply put the drink or ice cube trays outside if the temp is 10F for “carbon free” ice. If you get an older fridge you can drill two holes into the freezer and run copper lines into it and then run the lines outside (best if the fridge is next to an outside wall) up to a funnel like open water tank similar to a bird bath that way when the water …actually just go to page 72 at this link and Thomas Elpel can explain (picture’s worth 1,000 words):
    http://books.google.com/books?id=0wUEdHBbvlYC&pg=PA70&lpg=PA70&dq=free+off+grid+refrigeration+elpel&source=bl&ots=fhWLsbNp9-&sig=MoGSfJGmfDi-UfKJz0SjEXrAyKA&hl=en&ei=NahdTd3cCMSgtwfjsuTiCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
    Or use Einstein’s invention but boil the ammonia with an external heat exchanger with a wood gas apparatus, useful for summer use if you wish to not use propane or other fossil fuels…
    http://web.archive.org/web/20040417020411/http://www.cam.net.uk/home/StKilda/electrolux.html
    With a little arts and crafts there need not be an “energy crisis”.
    I like the simplest most zenful solutions best! Zum beispiel: Ice cube trays filled with water outside on the porch…

  • Anonymous

    Some high schools out there are taking the initiative to get crappy soda and crappy food out of the school. High schools should have organic farming programs and then they could eat the food. Youth can learn a lot doing that. Good skill to have in the current and coming economy.

  • Jaimie11

    You can get a small travel one (1.5 gals) for about $220, I think, including the filters. A stainless steel one is cheaper than the original British Berkefeld ceramic. The filters that deal with fluoride are called PF-4.
    Advantage of the small one is it uses only two filters instead of four – so it’s cheaper to maintain.

    I use one black berkey filter and one PF-4 in my unit. The black filter comes with the unit but they sometimes offer the PF-4 as an incentive free.

    http://www.jamesfilter.com/travelberkey.aspx

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