Who Else is Sick of (or getting sick from) Caramel Color?

October 17th, 2012

My husband likes to drink soda when he has a sore throat. He claims the carbonation helps. I say hot tea is the way to go, but we agree to disagree.

Anyhow, he’s on a Coke Zero kick, which wouldn’t bother me except for its nasty ingredient: caramel color. (Well, it also bothers me that it comes in plastic bottles. And has some hard to pronounce ingredients that can’t be natural.)

Soft drink companies have found ways to make products with zero calories that supposedly taste as good as the other stuff, but why are they still using caramel color? Furthermore, why did anyone start using caramel color in the first place?

If you’re like me, you’re tired of reading “caramel color” on the packages of so many foods that fill the aisles at grocery stores. (If you’re not reading ingredient lists, start now.)

I’m not against caramel color just because it’s artificial. I’m against it because it’s a likely culprit in up to 15,000 cancer cases in the U.S. each year.¬†And carmel color is made by treating sugar with ammonia, a habit that produces 4-methylimidazole or 4-MI, which has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals. (Read more at Eight Ingredients You Never Want to See on Nutrition Labels at msnbc and Cancer in Colas’ Caramel Coloring? at WebMD.)

If you could do without all that caramel color in soft drinks, ice cream and many, many other products, speak out to the companies that use it.

Earlier this year, Coke decided to switch to a less evil form of caramel color to avoid having to include a cancer warning label on their products. (Read more at Coca-Cola Modifies Caramel Color To Avoid Cancer Warning Label at NPR.) Obviously, Coke is concerned about caramel color, so let them know you want an alternative, or hey, clear Coke!

Does the use of caramel color in food and drinks bother you?