PepsiCo Faces Lawsuit over Cancer Causing Ingredient
This blog post has been edited. It was originally posted on March 26, 2014. Facts of this case may have developed or changed since the original post date. Settlements/verdicts may have been reached or are in progress.
A California woman had filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo Inc., claiming one of its products contained dangerous levels of a known carcinogen.
A California woman filed suit against PepsiCo Inc., claiming that the company failed to warn consumers that its Pepsi One product contained a cancer-causing ingredient. The lawsuit sought class-action status. Class-action status can potentially add thousands of plaintiffs to the action. Dangerous Chemical According to Kelly Ree, who says she purchased the product in 2012, Pepsi One has dangerous levels of 4-methylimidazole, known as 4-MEI—the chemical that forms during the production of caramel-coloring agents in some foods and beverages. She contends that the company failed to adequately warn consumers of the high levels of that chemical, which is a violation of California’s Proposition 65. In 2007, a study published by the National Toxicology Program, which is a branch of the United States government, found evidence that 4-MEI increased the incidence of lung cancer in mice. This study prompted the chemical to be included as a list of carcinogens covered by the California law. Changes to Formula After 4-MEI was added to the list of carcinogens required to be reported under the law, PepsiCo announced that they were changing the methods used to create cola beverages in an effort to reduce the amount of 4-MEI included in their products. The changes to the formula will allow company to avoid the required disclosure and make the product safer for human consumption. The lawsuit contends that if Ree had known the product contained the carcinogen, she would not have purchased Pepsi One in 2012. Lawsuit Demands Ree was seeking an undisclosed monetary amount as well as an injunction that required PepsiCo to either reduce the amount of 4-MEI in its products or to include a warning on product labels indicating the dangers. According to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, 4-MEI was added to a list of carcinogens under California Proposition 65 on January 7, 2011. When the actions of a corporation are suspected as the cause or contributing factor in an incident that has the potential to cause injury or death, a product liability claim may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding the actions of a company where injuries may have been caused or worsened by someone else’s actions.