NEW YORK (AP) — An advocacy group wants to take the fizz out of 7-Up’s antioxidant claims.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, which advocates for food safety and nutrition, is part of a lawsuit against Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. for touting an added antioxidant in some 7-Up varieties.
The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in California, says the claim is misleading because it gives the impression the antioxidants come from fruit rather than added vitamin E. The group also notes that the Food and Drug Administration prohibits companies from fortifying candies and soft drinks with nutrients.
The suit was filed on behalf of a California man who bought the drinks but says he didn’t know the antioxidants didn’t come from juices.
7-Up Cherry Antioxidant, Mixed Berry Antioxidant, and Pomegranate Antioxidant were launched in 2009. Despite the pictures of cherries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries and pomegranates on various 7-Up labels, the drinks do not contain any fruit or juice.
Representatives from Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper and the FDA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
It’s not the first time a soft drink maker has run into trouble for nutritional claims. In 2008, the FDA sent The Coca-Cola Co. a warning letter for placing inappropriate nutritional claims on its Diet Coke Plus soft drink. The agency had objected to the product’s labeling, which described the drink as “Diet Coke with Vitamins and Minerals.” The FDA said at the time that it is inappropriate to add extra nutrients to “snack foods such as carbonated beverages.”
A representative for Coca-Cola said the drink was taken off the market in 2010 because it wasn’t performing well.
In 2009, the Center for Science in the Public Interest also sued Coca-Cola for what it says are deceptive claims over its Vitaminwater. The group said Coca-Cola was selling what it said is basically sugar water by claiming it has vitamins that boost immunity and reduce the risk of disease. That case is still pending, according to Steve Gardner, litigation director for the center.
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