December 5, 2020

Volume X, Number 340

Advertisement

December 04, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

December 03, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

December 02, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

CSPI Refiles Lawsuit Alleging Coca-Cola and ABA Deceived Consumers on Health Risks

  • As background, on January 4, 2017, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer-advocacy group, filed a complaint claiming that Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association (ABA) misled consumers regarding the health risks of consuming sugary drinks such as soda.  The lawsuit specifically takes issue with Coca-Cola and the ABA’s emphasis on “calories in, calories out” and exercise as the best ways to manage health, which CSPI argues ignores scientific evidence linking sugar-sweetened drinks to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The suit also alleges that Coca-Cola purposefully misled consumers on the health risks of drinking soda by funding research that downplays the dangers of sugary beverages.

  • Coca-Cola immediately issued a statement calling the lawsuit “legally and factually meritless,” and noting that the Company takes its “consumers and their health very seriously and [has] been on a journey to become a more credible and helpful partner in helping consumers manage their sugar consumption.” The company further stated that it has worked to improve products’ nutrition by adopting front-of-pack calorie labeling, expanding low- and no-calorie products, reformulating products to reduce added sugars, and being more transparent in regards to disclosing funding. Coca-Cola also said it does not advertise to children under 12.

  • The ABA, for its part, has long contended that obesity is a “complex condition,” noting, for example, that whereas obesity and diabetes rates have increased in recent years, soda consumption has dropped.  In response to the complaint, ABA stated that “unfounded accusations like these won’t do anything to address health concerns, but the actions we’re taking, particularly in areas where obesity rates are among the highest, can make a difference.”

  • The complaint was subsequently withdrawn and refiled on July 13, 2017 to include additional plaintiffs.  A copy of the refiled complaint is available here.

  • CSPI is demanding that Coca-Cola and the ABA disclose files on potential health implications of consuming sugar-sweetened drinks, fund a public health education campaign, and end advertising aimed at children as well as marketing that implies drinking sugary beverage is not linked to health problems.

  • Given the lack of scientific literature demonstrating a causal link between soda consumption and negative health outcomes, the plaintiffs likely face an uphill battle in advancing their key claims.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 199
Advertisement

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS

Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...

202-434-4100
Advertisement
Advertisement