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Vitaminwater drowns in nanny-state activists’ lawsuit

Vitaminwater drowns in nanny-state activists’ lawsuit

By its very name, you know that any lawsuit sponsored by Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) will do three things:

  1. Target some successful, American corporate entity.
  2. Be based on anything other than science.
  3. Go counter to any interest that I, as an informed American consumer, have.

Que the most recent case: Vitaminwater Lawsuit to Move Forward as Class Action

A court ruled that a lawsuit alleging deceptive labeling for Coca-Cola’s Vitaminwater drinks may proceed as a class action.

Consumer advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and consumers in New York and California first filed a lawsuit in Jan. 2009, alleging deceptive labeling and marketing for the soft drink, which included claims that the drink could reduce rise for eye disease, promote healthy joints and support “optimal immune function.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy recommends that the plaintiffs can litigate for declaratory and injunctive relief, but not for damages.

In fact, the Executive Director of the organization (Michael F. Jacobson) had these disparaging remarks to make about this quintessentially American company: “The marketing of vitaminwater will go down in history as one of the boldest and brashest attempts ever to affix a healthy halo to what is essentially a junk food, a non-carbonated soda. Vitaminwater, like Coca-Cola itself, promotes weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cannot deliver on any of the dishonest claims it has made over the years.”

As an active woman who is weight conscious, I think the CSPI is going to have a tough challenge proving their claims. Here is a label for one of the selections:

Frankly, I see no halo. The formula does contain enough vitamins to meet 50% of the daily dose for listed compounds. The reason I don’t drink it is the calorie count, which is also plainly listed. Yes, the calories come this second listed ingredient, which is a form of sugar (crystalline fructose, which is used as a substitute for the now under-attack high fructose corn syrup used in food processing). And if I can figure that out, so can other people as well.

They can then do what I did: Opt to buy another beverage. There is no need for an activist nanny-state organization to reap a profit at the expense of a company that has found a way to cater to the wants and needs of the public.

However, there are times that Glaceau Vitaminwater is exactly what I want. I like its sweetness, am a big fan of Vitamin B compounds, and it tastes better to me than plain water. Hey, CSPI, ever heard of “pro-choice?”

As an aside, I am a big fan of Gary Taubes, the author of “Why We Get Fat” who is promoted by Glenn Reynolds often. In 2011, Taubes published “Is Sugar Toxic,” suggesting that refined sweeteners, especially their fructose component, are the source of a wide range of health problems impacting Americans today.  This premise is worth considering as diet choices are being made.

However, I suspect that like me, most people recognize that too much sugar is not good and vitamins are better obtained from food sources.  Americans don’t need an aggressive, overly-dramatic, progressive center to “mom” them in a way that can cost the nation’s workers much needed jobs.


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This “healthy foods” slight of hand continues. Two tablespoons of Nutella has the same fat, sugar, carb and sodium content as a melted Hershey bar (except LESS protein). You would be better off feeding your kid a Snickers bar for breakfast than bread with Nutella spread on it. We have food labeling. That is all we need. I am so sorry the low information consumer can’t read the label. But I can and am able to make a personal choice without the nanny brigade championing on my behalf.

I’m a big Taubes fan as well…

Does this mean we can sue the federal government for the infamous “food pyramid”?

It’s clever of Coca Cola to set the “serving size” at 8 oz, so if you want to know the full sugar content, you have to do MATH. That’s worse than reading cursive, I’ve been told. (Did you notice that the idiot trying to make a name for himself is a Jacobson? Just sayin’.)

I’m convinced that refined carbs are the source of the cardiovascular and diabetes syndrome. Researchers such as T.L. Cleave (book: The Saccharine Disease) and Weston A. Price have very compelling scientific evidence of this. At least, it’s enough for me.

I’m no fan of Coca Cola products, because the company’s formula is always “add more sugar.” That said, the sugar content is disclosed on the label.

Charles Curran | July 20, 2013 at 10:30 am

Also available is “zero water”. No calories.

13g of carbs is a paltry total. A 12 oz coke has on the order of 50-55g of carbs. So to compare vitamin water to soda is ridiculous.

    JerryB in reply to deadrody. | July 20, 2013 at 10:49 am

    A 12 oz Coke has 39 g of sugar. But you’re right, a 12 oz Vitamin Water has about 20 g, or about half of a Coke. Drinking the whole bottle gives you about 33 g, on the order of a can of pop. If you buy the bottle, you’ll drink the bottle. If the marketing makes you feel good, that’s all that counts, right?

    The FDA pushes the food triangle nonsense that low-fat, vegetable oil, and grains are “healthy.” It’s a marketing scam for big agra. Nobody is suing them.

Vitaminwater, like Coca-Cola itself, promotes weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cannot deliver on any of the dishonest claims it has made over the years.”

Coke has grounds to Countersue for libel AND ask for a search and seizure of fizzy drinks from the pantry and fridge of every CSPI employee.

Carol Herman | July 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm

If it makes ya thirsty then there ain’t no bad publicity involved.

A friend of mine gave me a gift subscription to the monthly newsletter for the Center of Science in the Public Interest.
I didn’t renew it when it came up as along with the subscription, one receives a “membership” to SCPI, which they then use to inflate how many members they have. Every issue has a lengthy diatribe article about a food conglomerate that is trying desperately to kill all their customers. They take particular delight in targeting chain restaurants for offering high calorie desserts, or appetizers. Their editor is particularly militant, his editorial page usually contains threats directed at Congress or the Bad Food Company of the month for either allowing sugar, salt, or food coloring to exist on this planet.
I suspect Mayor Bloomberg has been held captive and brainwashed by them, he sounds EXACTLY like CSPI editor and president.

center for the public interest

is not a center and certainly not in the public interest

CSPI was set up by some of the lawyers from the big tobacco lawsuit, which should tell you everything you need to know about their motivation. The MO is basically to fund some questionable research on something like BPA, and then threaten to sue. Bad science, bad ethics and certainly not in the public interest.

which included claims that the drink could reduce rise for eye disease, promote healthy joints and support “optimal immune function.

Is there cannabis in the drink?


It’s clever of Coca Cola to set the “serving size” at 8 oz

Pretty much all drink manufacturers normalize their serving size to 8 oz. That enables easy comparison between offerings.

    Loren in reply to randian. | July 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I am not certain, but I think the FDA may mandate the 8 oz serving size for soft drinks. It is certainly an odd size for the industry to settle on, since very little is packaged in 8 oz. packages.

      randian in reply to Loren. | July 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      It’s not just soft drinks. Milk, fruit juice, and teas all use an 8oz serving size. Pretty much anything liquid as far as I can tell.