FDA Recalls Sodas for Cancer-Causing Ingredients

By: May Man Published: Jun 07, 2024

The FDA has recalled four soda products due to the presence of undeclared harmful food dyes, including one linked to cancer.

These drinks, produced by the Charles Boggini Company, include Pink Lemonade, Yellow Lemonade, Yellow Lemonade X, and a flavoring product known as Cola Flavoring Base.

Supplier of Drink Concentrates and Flavours Under Scrutiny

Charles Boggini Company does not sell these beverages directly to consumers.

stainless steel machines in a factory

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Instead, they supply drink concentrates and flavors to various manufacturers and retailers across multiple states.

Dyes Used in Drinks Containing Carcinogens

The recall was issued because the pink and yellow lemonades contained food dyes Red 40 and Yellow 5, respectively, which the company failed to disclose.

red dye

Source: Freepik

Both dyes contain benzidine, a carcinogen for humans and animals, allowed in minimal, supposedly safe levels in dyes.

Cancer-Causing Benzidine

Companies using these ingredients in their products are required to disclose their presence.

FDA Building

Source: Wikimedia

The FDA has stated that ingesting free benzidine increases the cancer risk to just below the ‘concern’ threshold, equating to one cancer case per million people.

Recall Across Nine States

Charles Boggini Company initiated a voluntary recall of the drinks at the end of March, but the FDA didn’t classify the health hazard until June 3.



These products were recalled in nine states: Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Missouri, Illinois, Nevada, and California.

Health Concerns Relating to Sulfites

The Cola Flavoring Base was also recalled for containing undeclared sulfites, preservatives found in wine and various food products such as cured meats and dried fruits.

A cola drink inside a clear tumbler glass. There are ice cubes in the glass and a slice of lemon.

Source: Sorin Popa/Unsplash

Sulfites can cause allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and digestive problems in sensitive individuals.


Almost 3,000 Gallons Recalled

When sulfites mix with stomach acid during digestion, they release sulfur dioxide, an irritating gas.

sick woman with stomach ache sitting on couch

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The recall included 28 gallons of pink lemonade, over 2,700 gallons of cola flavoring base, and 112 gallons of yellow lemonade products.


Pink Lemonade and Cola Flavoring – Class II Health Hazard

The FDA classified the pink lemonade and cola flavoring base as Class II health hazards, meaning they may cause ‘temporary or medically reversible adverse health effects’.

pink lemonade against green and pink background

Source: Freepik

‘The probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote’.


Yellow Lemonade – Class III Health Hazard

According to the FDA, the yellow lemonade drinks were classified as a Class III health hazard, indicating they are ‘not likely to cause adverse health effects’.

lemonade against a yellow background

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In evaluating the health hazards of recalled products, the FDA considers factors such as whether the product has already caused illness and the risk of future health impacts.


Red 40 Linked to ADHD in Children

Class I recalls are the most serious, indicating a reasonable chance of causing serious adverse health consequences or death.

man with migraine holding head in hand while sitting on couch

Source: Freepik

Some studies have also linked Red 40, also known as E129, to allergies, migraines, and mental disorders like ADHD in children.


Yellow 5 used in Twinkies

The Yellow 5 food dye is commonly used in foods like Twinkies.

three halves of Twinkies, with two at the bottom and one on the top

Source: Larry Moore, Wikimedia

It has been linked to allergic reactions and intolerance in individuals with asthma or aspirin sensitivity.


Usage and Amount Must be Disclosed

Although the recall was labeled as voluntary, Charles Boggini did not confirm this and did not respond promptly to requests for comment.

high angle view of red soda cans

Source: Wirestock, Freepik

The FDA mandates that companies disclose the use of dyes, preservatives, and other chemicals in their products. Non-compliance can lead to recalls or fines.