FDA says Coca-Cola's Diet Coke Plus is misbranded
Thursday, December 25, 2008
The US Food and Drug Administration has written a warning letter to The Coca-Cola Company that Diet Coke Plus violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act's guidelines. The December 10 letter, signed by Roberta Wagner, director of the office of compliance at the Center of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, says Coca-Cola should "take prompt action to correct these violations."
The product's label describes the drink as "Diet Coke with Vitamins and Minerals." FDA said the soft drink does not have enough nutrients to justify the use of the word "plus" in its trade name. According to statute, foods must contain at least 10 per cent more of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) or Daily Reference Value (DRV) for a given nutrient "than an appropriate reference food" in order to be called "plus" legally.
The FDA also advised "it is inappropriate to add extra nutrients to snack foods such as carbonated beverages." The FDA warns Coca-Cola and asks it to revise the drink's labeling and inform the agency of its reply regarding how it plans to fix the violation, within 15 days of receiving the warning. Coca-Cola says it will submit a reply to the FDA in early January, but currently has no plans to alter the label.
The US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA, FDCA, or FD&C), is a set of laws passed by Congress in 1938 giving authority to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to oversee the safety of food, drugs, and cosmetics. A principal author of this law was Royal S. Copeland, a three-term U.S. Senator from New York, whose concerns about drug safety stemmed from the fact that he was also a homeopathic physician. The act has been amended many times, most recently to add requirements about bioterrorism preparations.
The Coca-Cola Company issued a statement saying, "This does not involve any health or safety issues, and we believe the label on Diet Coke Plus complies with FDA's policies and regulations."
The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company, largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups in the world, and one of the largest corporations in the United States. The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in 1886. Diet Coke Plus (also known as Coca Cola Light Plus) was released in the United Kingdom in October 2007.
Forbes has reported that "Coca-Cola has been on a crusade to revamp its image from a purveyor of highly sweetened, fattening products to a more family-friendly image of low-calorie, nutritional drinks. Its violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act could mean hefty fines and a seizure of product from the pop king, but often these sorts of issues are resolved without incident."
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