First it was high fructose corn syrup you had to worry about when it came to drinking soda. Now it’s the caramel coloring, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a public advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. Last week they urged the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of the coloring that’s added to colas and other soft drinks. “In contrast to the caramel one might make at home by melting sugar in a saucepan, the artificial brown coloring in colas and some other products is made by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures,” the agency said in a press release. “Chemical reactions result in the formation of 2-methylimidazole and 4 methylimidazole, which in government-conducted studies caused lung, liver, or thyroid cancer or leukemia in laboratory mice or rats.” Not surprisingly, the American Beverage Association had something to say about this. “4-MEI is not a threat to human health,” they stated in a press release titled American Beverage Association Responds to CSPI Scare Tactics on Caramel Coloring. “There is no evidence that 4-MEI causes cancer in humans. No health regulatory agency around the globe, including the Food and Drug Administration, has said that 4-MEI is a human carcinogen. This petition is nothing more than another attempt to scare consumers by an advocacy group long-dedicated to attacking the food and beverage industry.” Bottoms up!