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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