Soft drink giant Coca-Cola has been accused of making deceptive and unsubstantiated health claims about its Vitaminwater beverages.
According to the American consumer group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Coca-Cola have made a range of claims about Vitaminwater that go beyond those allowed by the Food and Drug Administration.
The CSPI says Vitaminwater is marketed as a healthful alternative to soda by the use of health buzz words as 'defense,' 'rescue,' 'energy' and 'endurance on the labelling and they have issued a class action lawsuit against Coca-Cola about the matter.
The CSPI says Coca-Cola also claims the drinks reduce the risk of chronic disease and eye disease, promote healthy joints and support immune function, when in fact 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.
Coca-Cola has dismissed the suit as ridiculous but the CSPI says it hopes the company will change its marketing practices and would like to see consumers reimbursed.
This latest lawsuit comes just weeks after the company was warned by U.S. health regulators about the way it markets another product.
Coca-Cola was criticised by the FDA in December over claims that Diet Coke Plus included a variety of vitamins and minerals which was a violation of U.S. policy against marketing soda and other snack foods as more nutritious.
According to the CSPI the VitaminWater labels' claims cross the line and are an outright fraud.
CSPI says VitaminWater contains between 0% to 1% juice, even though the full names of the drinks include "endurance peach mango" and "focus kiwi strawberry" and "xxx blueberry pomegranate acai" - even though they contain no blueberry, pomegranate, or acai juice.
The other juices contain no cranberry, grapefruit, dragon fruit, peach, mango, kiwi, or strawberry juice.