Coca-Cola products that are “kosher for Passover” won’t be on store shelves again this year in California, but the Atlanta-based company said they should be back in stores next year.
California is the only state where Coke is not providing the products until suppliers comply with a new state law designed to reduce levels of a chemical byproduct that California has deemed to be a carcinogen. The chemical is 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI, and can be formed when caramel coloring is made for Coke products.
Coke, which said it did not agree that a public health risk existed, nevertheless directed suppliers to change the way they manufacture caramel to reduce levels of 4-MEI in kosher for Passover products.
The kosher for Passover products are specially labeled and different from other kosher Coke beverages in that they use regular sugar as a sweetener instead of high-fructose corn syrup due to Passover dietary restrictions on use of grains such as corn.
“We want to ensure that our kosher for Passover products using the new process caramel provide the same high quality taste and experience that our consumers expect,” Coke said in a statement. “In other states, we are able to provide kosher for Passover products using our traditional caramel, which is safe and complies with all U.S. federal regulations, as well as regulations throughout the world.”