The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has asked its scientific panel to study the carcinogen content of carbonated beverages sold in India.
The state of California recently added ammonia sulfite or 4-MI – a coloring additive commonly used in fizzy drinks to its list of cancer-causing chemicals – and requiring on-can warnings of levels passed a threshold.
“This is a recent warning. The matter has already been referred to the scientific panel of the FSSAI. If the panel finds it necessary, we will take action in this regard,” said K. Chandramouli, chairperson at the FSSAI.
The colouring ingredient was added by California to its carcinogens list after a study showed the chemical is linked to cancer in mice and rats.
However, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, a person would have to drink more than 1,000 cans of a carbonated drink a day to take in the same dose of the carcinogen that was given to the animals in the lab test.
PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, which account for about 90% of all carbonated drink sales in India, have already declared they will modify the caramel colouring in their beverages to avoid any cancer warning labels.
Both companies have said that their new recipe has less 4-MI and that the change has already been introduced in the state of California and will soon be rolled out across the US. Plans for India have not been announced.