Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) and the American Beverage Association trade group were sued Wednesday for allegedly misleading consumers about the health risks from consuming sugary beverages.
The nonprofit Praxis Project accused the defendants of downplaying the risks to boost sales, despite scientific evidence linking sugary beverages to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Praxis accused both defendants using euphemisms such as “balance” and “calories in, calories out” to mislead consumers, and Coca-Cola of blaming a lack of exercise as the real cause of obesity.
“The notion that Coke’s products can be part of a healthy diet is imprinted on the minds of millions if not billions of people, and requires corrective action,” the litigation director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which helped file the lawsuit, said in an interview.
a Coca-Cola spokesman called the lawsuit “legally and factually merit-less. We take our consumers and their health very seriously and have been on a journey to become a more credible and helpful partner in helping consumers manage their sugar consumption.”
The American Beverage Association had no immediate comment
Wednesday’s lawsuit seeks to stop misleading marketing and require more consumer warnings, among other remedies. It was filed with the federal court in Oakland, California.
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Inc (NYSE:PEP) have pledged to bolster efforts to reduce added sugar in beverages.
Last October, Coca-Cola COO James Quincey, slated to succeed Muhtar Kent as CEO in May, said the Atlanta-based company has more than 200 “reformulation initiatives” toward that end.
But according to the complaint, a 16-oz bottle of Coke has 12 teaspoons of added sugar, a 15.2-oz bottle of Minute Maid Cranberry Grape Juice drink has 13 teaspoons, and a 20-oz bottle of Vitaminwater has 8 teaspoons.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons a day for men, and 6 for women.
A teaspoon of sugar has about 16 calories.
I do not use added sugar ever.
The case is Praxis Project v Coca-Cola Co et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 17-00016.
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Eat healthy, Drink healthy (water), Be healthy, Live lively
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