Help Stop Unfair Vitaminwater Lawsuit Settlement

vitaminwater lawsuit

Want to help stop Vitaminwater’s unfair settlement from being approved? Retweet this post and add @vitaminwater  #falseadvertising #howihustle

According to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a proposed agreement to settle a class action lawsuit against Coca-Cola over its marketing of Vitaminwater will do nothing more than “enrich private law firms but would not stop deceptive marketing of the products or provide any legal relief to consumers.”

CSPI has filed an objection to the proposed agreement and follows several lawsuits against Coca-Cola. Vitaminwater has been embroiled in legal actions for years because the company has been accused of making false and misleading claims about the healthfulness of their products, including that Vitaminwater drinks helps prevent eye disease and boosts the immune system.

In 2010 a court also agreed that names of the Vitaminwater 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.” Coca-Cola’s own lawyers argued that “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage,” an argument ridiculed by Stephen Colbert last year.

According to CSPI, the agreement does not prevent Vitaminwater from continuing to use terms like “focus,” “revive,” and “energy” on labels, nor does it prevent the company from naming various fruits on the label, such as kiwi, strawberry, blueberry, pomegranate, or acai, even though the drinks have no more than one percent of any kind of juice. Vitaminwater “focus kiwi-strawberry,” for instance, has no kiwi juice or strawberry juice. The proposed agreement also would not prevent Coca-Cola from adding vitamins to the product in the first place—even though CSPI’s lawsuit contends that the practice is in violation of the Food and Drug Administration’s prohibition on fortifying junk foods with vitamins.

CSPI says the proposed settlement:

“… ‘prevents’ Vitaminwater labels from using a handful of statements that the company had long abandoned anyway. But it does nothing to prevent the kind of deception that continues to this very day on current Vitaminwater labels. And it gives a bunch of lawyers who don’t care about consumers’ interests a million dollar payday. That’s a great deal for Coke and a few unprincipled lawyers, but no benefit at all for consumers.”

Want to help stop Vitaminwater’s settlement from being approved? Retweet this post and add @vitaminwater  #falseadvertising #howihustle

Written by Jennifer Kaplan

Jennifer Kaplan writes about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for Insteading (and EatDrinkBetter.com before the two sites merged) and is the author of Greening Your Small Business. She is an Instructor at the Culinary Institute of America-Greystone and was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster, an MFA and an MBA – follow her on Twitter.

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