Antioxidant 7-Up drink to be axed
The 7-Up with antioxidants soft drink is to be axed after an advocacy group accused its maker of misleading health claims.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group said its 7-Up varieties that touted antioxidants would be off supermarket shelves by early 2013.
The company, based in Plano, Texas, said the decision to reformulate the drinks was not related to the lawsuit. It said the drinks were being taken off the market for consistency across its brands.
It commented about the decision after the Centre for Science in the Public Interest filed a lawsuit yesterday, saying the drink's claims were misleading because they gave the impression that the antioxidants came from fruit rather than added vitamin E.
The group, which lobbies for food safety and nutrition, also noted that the Food and Drug Administration banned companies from fortifying sweets and soft drinks with nutrients.
The lawsuit was filed in US District Court in California on behalf of a California man who bought the drinks but said he did not know the antioxidants did not come from juices.
7-Up Cherry Antioxidant, Mixed Berry Antioxidant, and Pomegranate Antioxidant were launched in 2009. Despite the pictures of cherries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries and pomegranates on various 7-Up labels, the drinks do not contain any fruit or juice.
"It's an implied claim of healthfulness without any evidence," said Mike Jacobson, executive director of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest. Although there were many packaged foods that touted antioxidants, Mr Jacobson said this was a particularly egregious example because regulations prohibited companies from fortifying junk foods.
Even if added antioxidants provided any benefit, Mr Jacobson noted that people "shouldn't be getting them from a soda".
In a statement, Dr Pepper said its 7-Up Cherry was a "cherry-flavoured soda that does not contain juice ... and it says so right on the label". The company said it had decided to reformulate the 7-Up drinks last year and had met the Centre for Science in the Public Interest over the matter this summer.