Judge: Lawsuit against Deceptive Vitamin Water IS Justified
Late last week a federal judge ruled in favor of consumers when he allowed a lawsuit against Vitamin Water to proceed. The lawsuit was filed in early 2009 by the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The group sued parent company Coca Cola on the grounds of fraudulent and misleading health claims, as if Vitamin Water had the ability to cure disease. Coke’s motion to dismiss was denied.
From the ruling:
Judge John Gleeson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York found that the company’s use of the word “healthy” violates the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations on vitamin-fortified foods. The FDA’s so-called “Jelly Bean” rule prohibits companies from making health claims on junk foods that only meet various nutrient thresholds via fortification. The judge also found that vitaminwater’s claim on the “focus” flavor of vitaminwater that it “may reduce the risk of age-related eye disease” runs afoul of FDA regulations.
The judge also took note of the fact that the FDA frowns upon names of products that mention some ingredients to the exclusion of more prominent ingredients such as, in the case of vitaminwater, added sugar. The names of the drinks, along with other statements on the label, “have the potential to reinforce a consumer’s mistaken belief that the product is comprised of only vitamins and water,” Gleeson wrote. read more…
What you need to know:
Genius marketing propelled Vitamin Water to super-health-drink status in the past few years. How else can you explain hundreds of millions of bottles of water+sugar+colors+multivitamin sold?
Kudos to CSPI for watching our backs. A personal, 20 oz bottle of Vitamin Water, with 8 (EIGHT!) teaspoons of added sugar) cannot rightfully be considered a healthy beverage.
While CSPI and the judge are tackling the front of package claims and wording, the slick marketing has seeped into the ingredient list too, as we recently wrote:
Water is no longer water – it’s “reverse osmosis water”. The sugar is all dressed up and dandy too – it comes in two flavors: “cane sugar” and “crystalline fructose”. And so forth…