Yabia Omer writes that Citric Acid isn't a issue on Pesach. Does that deem Coca Cola Kosher for Passover even without a hechsher as a Sefardi?
[this was written before the OP edited his question and made it sefardi-specific, I will leave it up for Ashkenazim interested in the question]
For Ashkenazim, the problem with regular Coca Cola is not just the question of the citric acid but rather the high-fructose corn syrup. See here for instance
In its year-round formula, Coca-Cola uses high-fructose corn syrup for sweetness. But for Ashkenazim — Jews of Eastern European descent — corn and corn-based products are forbidden during Passover. To satisfy the sweet tooth of Jews who strictly observe Passover, Coca-Cola substituted cane sugar for corn syrup.
Or see here which focuses on the fact that some non-Jews prefer Pesach Coke
During Passover, Jews are forbidden to eat a category of grains known as kitniot, which includes corn. The Ashkenazi rabbis who came up with this stricture many centuries ago probably didn't foresee how their edict would collide with the invention of high fructose corn syrup [...] the end result today is that there are all sorts of HFCS-sweetened products that are kosher for most of the year but are not kosher during Passover. In some cases, special Passover editions of these products—sweetened with cane sugar, which is Passover-sanctioned, instead of HFCS—appear on the market in the weeks leading up to the holiday.
According to Rav Yitzchak Abadi, coca cola is inherently kosher for Sephardim and Ashkenazim during Passover without a hecsher according to halakha.
His responses are as follows:
Questioner: Is it permitted to drink plain coca cola on Pesach?
Rabbi Abadi: Yes
Questioner: What's going on here? (copied from a Jerusalem Post article)
"Kosher for Passover Coca-Cola has been barred from California.
California's new state laws on toxic chemicals are keeping kosher for Passover Coke out of the state, a company spokesman told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Related:
Coke was required to change the way it manufactures caramel due to the high levels of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI, which California has listed as a carcinogen under its new guidelines. The manufacturing changes in California affected the kosher for Passover status of the cola, according to reports.
The company expects to offer the Kosher for Passover variety of coca cola in California by 2013, the newspaper reported citing the company spokesman.
The Passover version of Coke uses sugar in place of corn syrup, which is not kosher for Passover for Ashkenazi Jews. Some kosher stores in California carried limited amounts of kosher for Passover Coke, which bears a yellow cap, imported from other states. "
Thanks again and moed tov.
Rabbi Abadi: It would be Halachically permitted for Ashkenazim, but they choose too be Machmir
Questioner: ...why is it that they produce a special Peasach Coke (it tastes awful :) if the regular one is okay? Thanks for all you help.
Rabbi Badi: It is a business decision