A leading soft drink maker is facing a lawsuit over claims it makes about some of its drinks that claim to have antioxidant properties.
According to a report from JDJournal.com, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a lawsuit against Dr. Pepper Snapple Group in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles earlier this month. The lawsuit is seeking class-action status to be joined by consumers who bought into the company’s alleged misleading claims about the purported health properties of several of its soft drinks.
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group is the maker of 7Up, which recently released new varieties of the soda drink that contain fruit and also claim to have antioxidant qualities. According to the report, the makers claim to use “regular and diet Cherry Antioxidant, Mixed Berry Antioxidant, and Pomegranate Antioxidant varieties.”
The consumer advocacy group believes these products make misleading claims about their healthy properties. First, the 7Up sodas at the focus of the lawsuit claim to get their antioxidant properties from the fruits added to the beverages, be it cherries, pomegranate, raspberries, or blackberries. Instead, these sodas get their purported antioxidant qualities from the added Vitamin E, not the fruits.
Many consumers have been led to believe that antioxidants can help prevent serious diseases or the development of cancers in their body. This claim has been debated hotly for the last decade, just as many products begin to release versions that claim to have these properties.
JDJournal.com states that in the last decade, the stance on antioxidants has changed based on new clinical data and that too much antioxidants can have adverse health effects.
Products that make health claims have been in focus at the Food and Drug Administration as their popularity increases and the market is flooded with more and more products that claim to make someone healthier as they consume it. For sodas, the FDA does not believe that a snack food – as sodas are classified – should be mixed or fortified with “healthy” ingredients in order to market them as a health food.
According to the same report, Coca-Cola Co. faced similar friction from regulators over its Diet Coke with Vitamins & Minerals product. The product has since been discontinued as it likely would have been subject to the same legal actions as the 7Up products.
The CPSI lawsuit seeks to include anyone who purchased any of these 7Up products that claimed to have antioxidant properties and also calls for Dr. Pepper Snapple Group to cease the marketing on these drinks.