WASHINGTON — The Center for Science in the Public Interest is acting as co-counsel in a lawsuit filed in California against the Dr Pepper Snapple Group that states the company’s antioxidant claims on six 7UP products is misleading.
The lawsuit targets six 7UP varieties, regular and diet Cherry Antioxidant, Mixed Berry Antioxidant and Pomegranate Antioxidant, and states that the antioxidant claims are misleading since they give the impression that the source of antioxidants is the fruits pictured on each product’s label. The lawsuit also states the claim is illegal since “Food and Drug Administration regulations prohibit fortifying nutritionally worthless snack foods and beverages with nutrients.”
Despite the pictures of cherries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, and pomegranates on various 7UP labels, the drinks contain no fruit or juice of any kind, according to the C.S.P.I. The consumer group went on to note 7UP Cherry Antioxidant contains water, high-fructose corn syrup, citric acid, potassium benzoate, and the color Red 40. The Mixed Berry and Pomegranate varieties contain Blue 1 dye in addition to the other ingredients. One 12-oz serving contains 38 grams of sugars and 140 calories. The diet versions replace the high-fructose corn syrup with the artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame potassium. In all six products, the added antioxidant is vitamin E in the form of vitamin E acetate or d-alpha tocopherol acetate.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a California man who said he would not have purchased the products if he had known the products didn’t contain juices from the advertised fruits, and that the drinks have only a small amount of antioxidants.
“This is another attempt by the food police at C.S.P.I. to mislead consumers about soft drinks,” the Dr Pepper Snapple Group said in a statement. “7UP Cherry is a cherry flavored soda that does not contain juice ... and it says so right on the label. 7UP Cherry is properly labeled under all F.D.A. regulations so that consumers can make an informed choice.
“When C.S.P.I. first contacted us in June, we told them that in 2011 we decided to re-label and reformulate 7UP Cherry. The new 7UP Cherry will not contain antioxidants to be consistent with the formulation and appearance of other 7UP products. We also told C.S.P.I. that the new 7UP Cherry will be on store shelves in February 2013. However, they refused to hear the truth and instead ran to the overburdened courthouses with their latest publicity-seeking lawsuit.”Co-counsel with the C.S.P.I. in the lawsuit is the law firm Reese Richman, L.L.P., New York.