A federal judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit against Pepsi Co. over their use of the carcinogenic additive, 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI) in their beverages.
Natural Society Reports: The substance 4-MeI is a byproduct of caramel coloring, and it has been proven to cause cancer in multiple scientific studies. The Coca-Cola Company previously eliminated the chemical from its drinks, while Pepsi Co did not.
Under California’s Prop 65, 4-MeI is included on a state list of substances that can cause cancer. An arm of the World Health Organization has also classified 4-MeI as a possible carcinogen. Consumer Reports also did a study on the chemical and found it was well above ‘healthy’ levels in many Pepsi drinks.
Paul Riva and Danielle Ardagna were part of a larger class action suit against Pepsico claiming that their drinks were unhealthy, but interim legal counsel decided to ignore personal injury or medical monitoring claims when the larger case was carried further into court with just the two plaintiffs.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen dismissed the Riva case after finding no basis for the claim of entitlement to medical monitoring, even though multiple experts completely disagree. He stated in his ruling:
“There is no plausible inference that 4-MeI causes bronchioloalveolar cancer in humans. The threshold levels of exposure that lead to enhanced risk of disease have not been identified. And many other common foods contain similar or higher levels of 4-MeI than the Pepsi products at issue.”
Riva and Ardagna asserted claims against Pepsico for negligence, strict liability based on defective design and liability based on failure to warn, seeking medical monitoring as a remedy for all three claims.
Despite Judge Chen’s ignorance, a single can of Pepsi One can contain as much as 43.5 micrograms of 4-MeI. Not something you want to regularly ingest. Even if Pepsi Co won this particular class action lawsuit, we can still hold them accountable as consumers.