F.D.A. rules Diet Coke Plus misbranded

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON — The label for Diet Coke Plus is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, according to a letter sent by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to Muhtar Kent, president and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta. The product is misbranded because the product makes a nutrient content claim but does not meet the criteria to make the claim, according to the letter dated Dec. 10.

The F.D.A. requested a response to the letter within 15 days from receipt.

"You should take prompt action to correct the violations," said the letter from Roberta F. Wagner, director, Office of Compliance for the F.D.A.’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). "Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in regulatory actions without further notice, such as seizure and/or injunction."

Coca-Cola North America announced the launch of Diet Coke Plus on March 22, 2007. The company said each 8-oz serving of Diet Coke Plus provides a good source of niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, zinc and magnesium.

The F.D.A., however, ruled Diet Coke Plus is a carbonated beverage. In its Code of Federal Regulations, the F.D.A. does not consider it appropriate to fortify snack foods such as carbonated beverages. Additionally, the label of Diet Coke Plus does not state the identity of a reference food and how the amount of nutrients in Diet Coke Plus differs by percentage (or fraction) from the amount of nutrients in the reference food.

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