'Food Police' Suing Dr Pepper Snapple Over 7UP Cherry Antioxidants

Company says it is already reformulating, re-labeling product

PLANO, Texas-- The Center for Science in the Public Interest is going after 7UP maker Dr Pepper Snapple Group with a lawsuit over antioxidant claims for its regular and diet Cherry Antioxidant, Mixed Berry Antioxidant and Pomegranate Antioxidant varieties. Dr Pepper Snapple said that it has already moved forward on to re-labeling and reformulating 7UP Cherry, with the new product due on store shelves in February 2013.

The suit was filed on behalf of a Sherman Oaks, Calif., man who said that he purchased the drinks but would not have had he known the product did not contain juices from the advertised fruits, and that the drinks have only a small amount of one isolated antioxidant, vitamin E, according to the consumer watchdog group.

"Non-diet varieties of 7UP, like other sugary drinks, promote obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and other serious health problems, and no amount of antioxidants could begin to reduce those risks," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. "Adding an antioxidant to a soda is like adding menthol to a cigarette--neither does anything to make an unhealthy product healthy."

According to the lawsuit, the antioxidant claims violate several California laws, including its Consumers Legal Remedies Act, the Sherman Food, Drug & Cosmetics Law and several provisions of its Business & Professions Code related to fraudulent business practices and misleading advertising.

In a statement, the company responded, "This is another attempt by the food police at CSPI to mislead consumers about soft drinks. 7UP Cherry is a cherry flavored soda that does not contain juice ... and it says so right on the label. 7UP Cherry is properly labeled under all FDA regulations so that consumers can make an informed choice. When CSPI first contacted us in June, we told them that in 2011 we decided to re-label and reformulate 7UP Cherry. The new 7UP Cherry will not contain antioxidants to be consistent with the formulation and appearance of other 7UP products. We also told CSPI that the new 7UP Cherry will be on store shelves in February 2013; however, they refused to hear the truth and instead ran to the overburdened courthouses with their latest publicity seeking lawsuit."

Click here to view the court document.

Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group is a leading producer of flavored beverages in North America and the Caribbean. Its more than 50 brands include the flagship Dr Pepper and Snapple brands, as well as 7UP, A&W, Canada Dry, Clamato, Crush, Hawaiian Punch, Mott's, Mr & Mrs T mixers, Penafiel, Rose's, Schweppes, Squirt and Sunkist soda.