Caramel Coloring: Junk science trumps common sense again

“If companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi believe that caving in this time to government mandates based on junk science will prevent similar actions from occurring in the future, they are badly mistaken. Negotiating with one’s enemies only emboldens them to torment you further.”

Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr writes at the Daily Caller:

Now, thanks not to market forces but to action undertaken by the State of California — the land of fruit, nuts and overzealous nanny-staters — Coca-Cola and Pepsi, its largest competitor, have been pressured to make changes to their soft drink formulas to avoid a new, punitive regulation. Regulators in the Golden State have decided that if the companies don’t change their soft drink formulas, they’ll have to label their drinks as “cancer-causing.”

Regulators have the authority to impose the labeling requirement thanks to Proposition 65, which was passed by California voters in 1986 and has been used as a regulatory hammer ever since. The regulations promulgated pursuant to Prop 65 require that any product containing certain chemicals and ingredients that are deemed to be carcinogens must contain a “clear and reasonable” warning that it “contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.”

Last October, bureaucrats in the state added 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI, to the list of potentially dangerous chemicals. Soft drink companies have long used 4-MI to give drinks a caramel coloring.

Bureaucrats reportedly decided to add 4-MI to the list of potentially dangerous chemicals based on the results of a single study, which found that animals exposed to extremely high levels of the chemical developed cancer. The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, not wishing to consider any research in conflict with its own, dismissed another, two-year study of 4-MI which found that the chemical didn’t cause rats or mice to develop cancer…

6 thoughts on “Caramel Coloring: Junk science trumps common sense again”

  1. @Paul Penrose

    My fellow video gamers will confirm the latter conclusion of your theory. Some of the largest game developers have pulled out of California and come to my home state of Texas.



    more proof

    (couldn’t find an article dealing specifically with the game industry, but point made.)

    But consider that: an entire industry making a mass exodus from a business un-friendly state. And you know CA’s response will be to raise taxes even more to make up for the lost revenue, which will only push more businesses out. It’s a beautiful thing to watch democracy in action.

    Similarly, I think the best thing Coke and Pepsi could do would be to just stop selling their products in CA all together. Imagine walking into your favorite burger joint and the only drink options are juice, milk and water. THAT would produce some results at the polls.

  2. One of two things is going to happen in California. Either the rational people are going to take back control of their state government, or they are going to leave. The future of California hangs in the balance.

  3. Bureaucrats isn’t specific enough for a state like California. You have to narrow it down to the nearest two or three dozen bureaucracies to find the guilty parties.

    Here’s a partial list; California bureaucracies.

    Interesting side note; Governor Jerry Brown has differed to the California Federation of Teachers and left-leaning activists to rely more on taxing the rich to raise an estimated $9 billion for California’s budget.
    The Democratic governor tried with little success to knock CFT’s rival tax on millionaires off the November ballot. With a negotiating window closing fast because of the election calendar, state leaders and the teachers group struck an eleventh-hour deal to put their unified plan before voters.

    Read more here:

    There are no leaders in California. Just we victims subject to the whim of bureaucrats and perpetual regulations.

  4. Maybe they should not change the formula and use the label. If everything can cause cancer then people will stop paying attention to the label.

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