The Cola Wars, Part 1: Starting on Common Ground

4-methylimidazole, also referred to as 4-Mel, occurs naturally in Maillard reactions, but is carcinogenic and can cause cancer at high levels. This much, I think we’re all fairly familiar with. But this comes into play not merely on an individual more-informed-and-health-conscious-than-the-average-consumer level, but recently on a nationwide level due to California’s Proposition 65 released by their Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. ( This would basically mandate Coke and Pepsi to put, “Warning: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancern,” on their label. Obviously this was not desirable to either company, and as they couldn’t merely alter their product for CA specifically, hopefully we benefit as a nation from this. Isn’t it so interesting, though, how trusting we are or can be or have been of what people formulate to feed us?


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