Schools Training

Caramel Food Colouring Raises Risk of Cancer

1 APR 2014

This week, the AAPS blog looks at new research on caramel food colouring – a seemingly innocuous and commonly used agent called 4-Mel that puts the brown tint in everything from gravy and soups, to canned mushrooms and cola. Soft drinks were at the center of a recent Consumer Reports study that looked at particularly high levels of 4-Mel in our favourite brown bubbly, raising concern over its carcinogenic properties. The blog post, Caramel Food Colouring Raises Risk of Cancer, reflects that worry over chemical colourants is nothing new, and that

Most of us recall the recent Kraft dinner debacle that resulted in a widespread crusade against the retailer’s use of yellow dye #5 – the chemical that puts the neon in the noodles. Clinical research has linked the dye, otherwise known as tartrazine to numerous health problems, including migraines, anxiety, blurred vision, and hyperactivity in children. Tartrazine is considered to be the most allergenic of the dyes – and consumers have learned to avoid its telltale yellow glow. But now, recent tests have focused scrutiny on a new potentially dangerous colourant. It’s called 4-Mel, the caramel colouring turned potential carcinogen found in most of our favourite soft drinks.

The post looks at how Coke and Pepsi fared in the study, as well as a supposedly all-natural Whole Foods cola called Dr. Snap. Some of the beverages profiled contained alarmingly high levels of 4-Mel – considerably more that the amounts recommended for human consumption. Consumer Reports suggests that shoppers scrutinize labels more closely, and make efforts to choose products containing little or no 4-Mel. We already know that sodas are bad for us, and with new research linking 4-Mel to cancer, we’ve got one more solid reason to avoid colas altogether.