Dr Oz: 4-MEI Caramel Coloring in Soda & Triclosan Antibacterial Risk


Dr Oz: Caramel Coloring + Triclosan

Consumer Reports teamed with Dr Oz to share the results of a controversial new study about Caramel Coloring. We see this in many products, from soda and syrup to beer and bread. Also, learn why the FDA has changed its stance about Triclosan, a chemical you probably have in your house.

Caramel Coloring has been linked to cancer in animals, and California requires warning labels for foods that have a certain level of Caramel Coloring. Consumer Reports launched a nine-month investigation, and Dr Urvashi Rangan said that some of these artificial colors can create 4-MEI, a potential carcinogen.


“We don’t think that coloring food brown should increase someone’s cancer risk,” she said, noting that labels are vague and can make it hard to determine what type of Caramel Coloring is used in a product.

Dr Oz: California Carcinogen Labeling for Caramel Color

Dr Oz: 4-MEI Caramel Coloring in Soda & Triclosan Antibacterial Risk

Dr Oz had a consumer warning for all of us about the risk of Caramel Coloring in food and the FDA’s concern about Triclosan in antibacterial products.

Dr Oz showed a quick demonstration of how cooking over high heat can create reactions that result in other chemicals. Fumes and smoke can create reactions of their own. Now imagine food chemists experimenting to create Caramel Color.


Since January 2012, California state law requires warning labels on foods such as sodas. The Consumer Reports study surveyed soft drinks sold in California as well as New York. They were searching for levels of 4-MEI.

Levels varied dramatically in the 12 brands that were tested. A sample of the beverage Malta Goya from California had over 10 times the state threshold in testing.
Pepsi One samples from California had 43 mcgs, over the 29 mcgs allowed in the state.

Over a nine-month period, samples from the New York area showed different levels than the California standards, but they started to come in line toward the end of the testing period.

Dr Oz: 4-MEI Levels in Food

What about sodas that claim to be all natural? Dr Rangan told Dr Oz that Caramel Color is not natural, according to FDA standards. Consumer Reports is pushing for the FDA to:

  • Set a limit for 4-MEI in food products.
  • Clearly label which Caramel Color is in food products.
  • Prohibit “natural” products from containing Caramel Color.

Dr Oz: FDA Caramel Coloring Risk

This conversation is not just about soda. Caramel Coloring is also used in syrups, grains, and breads that have a dark color. Imitation Syrup often contains Caramel Coloring, and so could your Soy Sauce or Brown Gravy. We could be exposing ourselves to more cancer-causing chemicals than we ever realized.

Dr Oz wondered why this is even allowed to be added to the food supply. According to Dr Rangan, the FDA is not concerned about an immediate threat. The FDA responded to Dr Oz’s show with a statement mentioning that they are reviewing data about this issue.

Dr Oz: Triclosan Antibacterial Soap Risk

Antibacterial products are supposed to make us feel healthy and safe. But many of them contain Triclosan, a chemical that the FDA now says may not be safe. The FDA has asked manufacturers to prove that products containing this ingredient are safe.

Most of us probably don’t think about the antibacterial products we have in our kitchens and bathrooms. Heather White from Environmental Working Group talked with Dr Oz about the concerns surrounding Triclosan.

  • Endocrine Disruptor (throws off hormones)
  • Could weaken Heart muscle
  • Promotes Bacterial resistance
  • Pollutes environment and people (contaminating streams and rivers)

Dr Oz: Triclosan Safety Warning

Triclosan has been found in blood, urine, and breast milk, and it is suspected that 75% of us are infected, from products such as soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and even cutting boards. White suggested choosing alternative products that do not contain Triclosan or Triclocarban. Also watch out for code words Odor Fighting and Antibacterial.

“Don’t buy products with Triclosan. It’s a waste of money. It’s bad for you and it’s bad for the environment,” Dr Oz said.



  1. says

    Why?? would you warn us against caramel coloring & then have an ad on your site for Twinlab Bariatric Support – Super B-Complex w/caramel coloring? l’m confused?

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