The soft drinks Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi One contain excessive amounts of a carcinogen, methylimidazole (4-MeI), and parent company Pepsico is keeping that secret, according to a lawsuit filed January 23 in federal court. The suit is intended to be a class action, representing everyone in the state who has consumed those Pepsi products in the past four years.
Plaintiff is Thamar Santisteban Cortina of Bonita, who is represented by attorney Jack Fitzgerald. According to the suit, 4-MeI is an impurity generated in the manufacture of caramel colors and has been found by the National Toxicology Program to cause lung tumors in laboratory animals.
The executive director of the Consumer Reports Food Safety & Sustainability Center says there is no safe level of 4-MeI and it is an unnecessary risk. According to Consumer Reports testing, Pepsi sold in California contains 29.1 micrograms of 4-MeI per can.
"In advertising and selling Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi One, [Pepsico] has and continues to deceptively omit that these soft drinks contain [dangerous] 4-MeI that expose consumers to cancer," charges the suit.