PEPSI sells soft drinks including Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi One throughout the state of California. Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi One contain an amount of 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI), a carcinogen, sufficient to expose California consumers to substantial health risks. PEPSI, however, deceptively omits that the Pepsi beverages contain these amounts of 4-MeI. Plaintiff brings this action on behalf of herself and a class of California consumers to rectify the injuries caused by PEPSI’S unlawful practices, and to enjoin PEPSI’S ongoing deceptive omissions concerning the amount of 4-MeI in the Pepsi beverages.
4-MeI is an impurity generated during the manufacture of caramel colors III and IV used in some soft drinks. 4-MeI has been found by the National Toxicology Program to cause lung tumors in laboratory animals. According the Consumer Reports Food Safety & Sustainability Center, “There is no ‘safe’ level of 4-MeI, but if you have to set a threshold, it should be well below the Prop 65 level (29 micrograms/day) – and more like 3 micrograms/day.” Ragan calls exposure to 4-MeI “an unnecessary risk.”
According to testing performed by Consumer reports, in December 2013, Pepsi sold in California contained an average 29.1 micrograms of 4-MeI per can.
As alleged, PEPSI has had and continues to have exclusive knowledge of material facts concerning the amount of 4-MeI in the Pepsi beverages. PEPSI has actively concealed from Plaintiff and the class material facts concerning the amount of 4-MeI in the Pepsi beverages, as well as its potential health harms. In advertising and selling Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi One, PEPSI has and continues to deceptively omit that these soft drinks contain dangers levels of 4-MeI that expose consumers to cancer.