Consumer Reports: Pancake syrup health concerns - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Consumer Reports: Pancake syrup health concerns

Now, it has tested several brands of pancake syrups -- Hungry Jack Original, Aunt Jemima Original and Original Lite, Mrs. Butterworth's Original, and Log Cabin Original. All contained 4-MeI. Now, it has tested several brands of pancake syrups -- Hungry Jack Original, Aunt Jemima Original and Original Lite, Mrs. Butterworth's Original, and Log Cabin Original. All contained 4-MeI.

(CONSUMER REPORTS) - Consumer Reports recently reported that some kinds of caramel color in soft drinks can contain a potential carcinogen called 4-MeI.

Now, it has tested several brands of pancake syrups -- Hungry Jack Original, Aunt Jemima Original and Original Lite, Mrs. Butterworth's Original, and Log Cabin Original. All contained 4-MeI.

4-MeI is found in two kinds of caramel color that are used to make syrups brown. The chemical has been shown to cause cancer in mice and is a possible human carcinogen.

While Consumer Reports' sample size was not big enough to be able to recommend one brand over another, Consumer Reports Director of Product Safety, Dr. Urvashi Rangan, says how much and how often people eat syrup can increase their cancer risk.

The 4-MeI in syrup is less of a concern than in soft drinks because people tend to consume far less syrup. If you eat syrup twice a week, about a quarter of a cup each time, that would carry close to a negligible lifetime cancer risk. But if you eat syrup daily, as some children do, that cancer risk can increase significantly.

You can also be exposed to 4-MeI from some caramel colors in many other food products. For instance, caramel color is listed as an ingredient in some breads, cereals, and barbecue sauce. If it is the type with 4-MeI, that may also increase cancer risk.

You can't tell by looking at a food label which type of caramel coloring is used. So you don't know if it is the type that contains 4-MeI. Consumer Reports has asked the government to regulate the chemical and set limits on how much is allowed in food.

In response to Consumer Reports' report, J.M. Smucker Company, which makes Hungry Jack Original, and The Quaker Oats Company, which makes Aunt Jemima products, responded using the following statements:

"4-MEI is a naturally occurring compound that forms during the normal heating, roasting and cooking process in some foods and beverages. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated it has no reason to believe that there is a health risk to consumers." - J.M. Smucker Co. / Hungry Jack

"We abide by the regulatory guidelines everywhere we do business. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory agencies around the world consider our caramel coloring safe for use in foods." - The Quaker Oats Co. / Aunt Jemima

Copyright 2014 Consumer Reports. All rights reserved.
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