Hands Off Our Coke! (And Pepsi)

California is at it again.  It has determined that because the caramel coloring used in Coke and Pepsi includes a substance that a study has found causes cancer in mice, the soft drinks need to include a cancer warning label.  Not surprisingly, Coke and Pepsi have decided instead to change their recipes — and because it would be more costly to just change the recipe for soda sold in California, the recipes will be changed for all Coke and Pepsi products sold in the U.S.

What’s that, you say?  You haven’t noticed that the soft drink-guzzling Americans you see on the street, who have been swilling Coke and Pepsi on a daily basis for decades, have turned into tumorous monstrosities?  That’s because the study on which California’s determination is based deals with tumors in mice, not people.  What’s more, the Food and Drug Administration states that a human would need to drink more than a thousand cans of Coke and Pepsi a day to equal the dose administered to the mice in the study. Even the most slothful, couch-bound, Coke-addicted video game geek couldn’t approach such levels.

This latest action by California is another example of our regulatory state run amok. Studies, no doubt funded in part by tax dollars, test substances on rodents at ludicrous exposure levels and find increased incidence of cancer, which is not surprising because gross overexposure to just about anything — including water — can be harmful.  Then, “consumer advocacy groups” use the study results to start the drumbeat to ban the substance, advancing the dubious argument that because absurd exposure levels are associated with increased cancer incidence in mice, any exposure at any level increases the risk of cancer in humans.  Then, nanny states like California issue edicts like the one directed to Coke and Pepsi and manufacturers have to change what they are doing, thereby increasing costs and messing with products that Americans have used for years without any problem.

At some point, I hope, people will wake up to the sham nature of such “public health” findings and demand that states like California reserve their intrusive regulations for those rare cases that raise real public health issues — ones that don’t assume consumers quaff 1,000 cans of Coke a day.  Until then, hands off our Coke!