Coke reveals its secret: It may need to carry a cancer warning / the chemical 4-methylimidazole, a caramel flavouring known as 4-MEI

THE JOLLY BUCCANEERS

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Liam O’Brien, The Independent

Nightmares about the backlash they suffered the last time they dared to change the secret recipe for their drink still most likely haunt Coca-Cola executives.

But 27 years after the ill-fated launch of New Coke, the threat of having a cancer warning placed on their famous red bottles is forcing them to revise the closely guarded ingredients again.

With its arch rival Pepsi, Coca-Cola is altering its drink in the US after the state of California declared one of its flavourings a carcinogen – though it will continue to sell the old form of the drink in Britain and the rest of Europe, with no cautionary labelling.

The two drinks have been made to include less of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, a caramel flavouring known as 4-MEI, which the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the US has linked it to cancer in mice and leukaemia…

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