Navigation Links
Coke Sued for Fraudulent Claims on Obesity-Promoting 'VitaminWater'
Date:1/15/2009

vitamins + water + sugar + hype = soda - bubbles

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Coca-Cola Company has been served notice a class action lawsuit filed (http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/vitaminwater_filed_complaint.pdf)over what the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says are deceptive and unsubstantiated claims on its VitaminWater line of beverages.

Coke markets VitaminWater as a healthful alternative to soda by labeling its several flavors with such health buzz words as "defense," "rescue," "energy," and "endurance." The company makes a wide range of dramatic claims, including that its drinks variously reduce the risk of chronic disease, reduce the risk of eye disease, promote healthy joints, and support optimal immune function.

In fact, according to CSPI nutritionists, the 33 grams of sugar in each bottle of VitaminWater do more to promote obesity, diabetes, and other health problems than the vitamins in the drinks do to perform the advertised benefits listed on the bottles.

CSPI's litigation department is serving as co-counsel in the suit, filed yesterday in United States District Court in the Northern District of California. The other law firms involved in the case are Reese Richman LLP and Whatley Drake & Kallas, LLC.

"When I bought VitaminWater, frankly I thought I was doing myself a favor health-wise," said the plaintiff, San Francisco, California, resident James Koh, who used to purchase and drink VitaminWater after working out at the gym. "I was attracted by the prospect of getting extra vitamins. But I had no idea that I was actually getting almost a Coke's worth of sugar and calories. There's no way I would have spent money on that, had I known."

VitaminWater's website (http://www.glaceau.com/), marketing copy, and labels claim that VitaminWater is healthy, claiming, for example, that "balance cran-grapefruit" has "bioactive components" that promote "healthy, pain-free functioning of joints, structural integrity of joints and bones" and that the nutrients in "power-c dragonfruit" "enable the body to exert physical power by contributing to the structural integrity of the musculoskeletal system."

While it is true that vitamins do play various roles in the human body, the statements on VitaminWater labels go far beyond even the loose, so-called "structure/function claims" allowed by the Food and Drug Administration and cross the line into outright fraud, according to CSPI.

Moreover, VitaminWater contains between zero and one percent juice, despite the full names of the drinks, which include "endurance peach mango" and "focus kiwi strawberry," and "xxx blueberry pomegranate acai," among others. A press release for the "xxx" drink claims its antioxidants makes the drinker "last longer" in some unspecified way; in any event, it has no blueberry, pomegranate, or acai juice, nor do the others have any cranberry, grapefruit, dragon fruit, peach, mango, kiwi, or strawberry juice.

According to documents filed in 2007 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Coke acknowledged that "obesity and other health concerns may reduce demand for some of [its] products," and that "increasing public awareness" about health experts' concerns over sugar-sweetened beverage could affect the company's profitability. That year, Coke acquired VitaminWater's parent company, Glaceau. Also in 2007, CSPI sued Coke and its partner Nestle over an artificially sweetened green-tea-based drink called Enviga. The companies claim Enviga burns more calories than it consumes, resulting in weight loss -- a claim that CSPI says is not supported by the small number of studies on the drink's ingredients.

"Coke fears, probably correctly, that they'll sell less soda as Americans become increasingly concerned with obesity, diabetes, and other conditions linked to diets too high in sugar," said CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner. "VitaminWater is Coke's attempt to dress up soda in a physician's white coat. Underneath, it's still sugar water, albeit sugar water that costs about ten bucks a gallon."

VitaminWater typically retails for about $1.49 for a 20-ounce bottle.

"My advice to consumers is to get your vitamins from real food," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. "If you have reason to believe you have a shortcoming of one vitamin or another, perhaps take an inexpensive supplement. But don't seek out your vitamins in sugary soft drinks like Coke's VitaminWater."

Since 2005, CSPI's litigation project (http://www.cspinet.org/litigation/) has, on its own or in cooperation with private law firms, negotiated settlements or voluntary changes to marketing practices with Anheuser-Busch, Airborne, Kellogg, Frito-Lay, Quaker Oats, Pinnacle Foods and others. Whatley, Drake & Kallas, LLC is a 35-lawyer firm with offices in Birmingham, New York City, and Boston which concentrates on complex class action and derivative litigation, including consumer, healthcare, insurance, employee benefits, antitrust, securities, and mass tort litigation. Reese Richman LLP handles commercial litigation with a focus on consumer, antitrust, and securities class actions.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Center for Science in the Public Interest
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Merck to Pay More Than $650 Million to Resolve Claims of Fraudulent Price Reporting and Kickbacks
2. Antibacterial Soap Claims Just Dont Wash
3. University of Texas Study Details Lengthy Payment Delays for Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Claims, Confirming Need for Legislative Fix
4. Governor Rendell Proclaims Sept. 9-15 as Senior Community Center Week
5. Coalition America Renews Relationship with Musketeer to Offer Streamlined Claims Repricing and Adjudication Solution for Benefit Administrators
6. Aon Corporation Study Finds Hospital Claims at New Lows
7. Medtronic Sprint Fidelis Defibrillator Lead Lawsuit Claims Center Opens to Aid Victims
8. Governor Rendell Says Mcare Claims and Costs Are 50 Percent Lower Than in 2003
9. Goulets Life Lost to Untreatable Lung Disease That Claims as Many Lives as Breast Cancer Each Year
10. Congress Proclaims Support for Long Term Care Awareness Week; Recent Poll Shows Voters Want Long Term Care Included in Presidential Candidates Healthcare Proposals
11. CIC Partners Announces Investment in OmniSYS, the Market Leader in Providing Solutions to Pharmacy-Related Medical Benefit Claims
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... Park, KS (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... in retailers of Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States ... eyeglasses have become a way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a weight loss fitness plan that ... the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, , All ... They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise program , ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn ... specific project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand ... all within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether ... latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, ... their goal. , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the tendency ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) ... will receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance research ... anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in fighting ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and ... Excipients Market by Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), ... Topical, Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast to 2021" ... The global pharmaceutical excipients market is projected ... CAGR of 6.1% in the forecast period 2016 to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... to 2022" report to their offering. ... financial data derived from varied research sources to present unique ... on the market during the next five years, including a ... markets, regional and country level analysis. The report provides a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Pa. , June 23, 2016 Bracket ... will launch its next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA ... Meeting held on June 26 – 30, 2016 in ... the first electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its kind ... Booth #715. Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a flexible ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: