A class action lawsuit alleging that PepsiCo violated California chemical disclosure standards will be allowed to proceed after a federal judge tossed out the soft drink company's effort to dismiss the case.
The lawsuit, which consolidated eight separate actions into one case, argued that PepsiCo failed to disclose levels of 4-methylimidazole in Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi One that exceeded the threshold under Proposition 65.
California listed the chemical — a byproduct of the caramel coloring process in certain sodas — as a carcinogen under Prop 65 in 2011, a move that requires companies to disclose exposure levels of at least 29 micrograms per day.
The class action lawsuit, which cited a 2014 Consumer Reports test of Pepsi products, accused the beverage giant of misleading consumers.
Pepsi responded with a motion to dismiss the case. The filing argued that the Prop 65 threshold was not based on a single serving of soda but instead on average lifetime exposure patterns.
Pepsi also said a Prop 65 label would be preempted by U.S. Food and Drug Administration labeling requirements.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen disagreed and dismissed the motion, although he said Pepsi could challenge the plaintiffs' calculations during the trial phase of the case.
"Our products are safe and in full compliance with all applicable laws," PepsiCo spokeswoman Aurora Gonzalez told Courthouse News Service.