According to federal regulations, manufacturers must include an ingredient list on consumable products. These lists must clearly display what is contained in the product in descending order according to weight. This includes any chemical additives or preservatives as well. Failing to do so can result in accusations of false advertising, which can then lead to litigation. In some cases, depending on how the court rules, a business may be found guilty of false advertising and may even be forced to pay compensation in the event of a civil lawsuit.
This is exactly what is happening to Coca-Cola Co. and Coca-Cola Refreshments USA Inc this month. As some of our Los Angeles County readers may know, the company is currently facing accusations from a class action, which claims that the soda-pop maker falsely advertises its soft drink by stating that it has no chemical preservatives or artificial flavors.
Although Coca-Cola moved to dismiss the class action lawsuit against it and avoid potentially lengthy litigation in the process, a federal judge disagreed with the motion and allowed parts of the class action to continue. As we mentioned above, the lawsuit centers around how Coca-Cola advertises its beverage. As was pointed out by the lawsuit and eventually the judge, the drink contains phosphoric acid which falls under the Food and Drug Administration's classification of an artificial flavor.
By stating that the beverage does not contain artificial flavoring when in fact it does, Coca-Cola may have violated federal as well as California law.
It's because of this fact that the federal judge is allowing the case to move forward despite delivering a mixed judgment that left neither party completely in the right. Unfortunately, our readers will have to wait until after the next court date, which is set for September 26, to hear what the resolution to his case.
Source: Courthouse News Service, "Coca-Cola Labeling Challenge Advances," Rebekah Kearn, Aug. 26, 2014