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Friends of the Earth will 'edit' erroneous Pepsi and Coke mentions out of nano ingredient report

By Ben Bouckley+

13-Jun-2014
Last updated on 13-Jun-2014 at 16:36 GMT

PepsiCo's SoBe Elixir Orange Cream (pictured right) was one of the brands cited in the initial Friends of the Earth report (Joshua Ommen)
PepsiCo's SoBe Elixir Orange Cream (pictured right) was one of the brands cited in the initial Friends of the Earth report (Joshua Ommen)

Friends of the Earth tells BeverageDaily.com it will edit its headline-grabbing report claiming that nano-ingredients are used in beverages by Coke and Pepsi to reflect its innocent usage of data that was apparently misstated in the PEN inventory of consumer products using nanotechnology.

The report had claimed that PepsiCo SoBe, Elixir Orange Cream and Coke's Powerade Lemon Lime both used nano-scale titanium dioxide (TIO2), with Ian Illuminato using data taken from the PEN inventory of consumer products using nanotechnology, hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center. Neither product is listed as of today .

Earlier this week both The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo denied using titanium dioxide in the drinks , and expressed puzzlement at the Friends of the Earth (FOE) report.

This uses data taken from a 2012 study co-written by Dr. Paul Westerhoff , associate dean of research at the engineering department of Arizona State University, but yesterday the academic told BeverageDaily.com that those who maintain the database had misrepresented his group's study conclusions in the paper for the journal Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T).

'It appears the PEN inventory misrepresented our conclusions': Scientist

Westerhoff told this website: "My group has never claimed Pepsi or Coke products contain TiO2. We measured Titanium (Ti) in some products – but not all Ti is TiO2.  I talked with another journalist this week – and it appears the PEN inventory misrepresented our conclusions in our prior ES&T [Environmental Science & Technology] paper.

"We clearly differentiated products that contained TiO2 nano particles from those that contain Ti," he added.

Presented with these comments, Illuminato said Friends of the Earth told us the environmental organization would tweak its report: “We have decided to edit our report in order to reflect claims made by companies regarding their use of nanomaterials," he said.

'Companies should still check with suppliers on use of nanomaterials' - Friends of the Earth

"We still feel it’s important for companies to inquire with their suppliers about the use of nanomaterials (beyond just titanium dioxide) in all products they offer," Illuminato added.

"Lack of labeling laws and regulation in this area make it very difficult to assess the presence of these potentially hazardous ingredients in food, beverages and other products," he said.

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