Early November, Dr. Pepper was sued over antioxidant claims in its 7-up Cherry product. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the advertising for this product is misleading. As reported by Reuters, “The named plaintiff is David Green, a resident of Sherman Oaks, California, who said he would not have bought the soft drinks had he known their antioxidants did not come from fruit.” Reuters Article
Dr. Pepper responded and defended the product by pointing out the obvious – “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.” Dr Pepper Snapple Group Responds

As a food scientist with extensive education in nutrition, I am saddened by how prolific these types of lawsuits are becoming. I am not exaggerating when I say that these False Advertising/Labeling suits are being filed on almost a daily basis. I take for granted how easy it is for me to read a food label and the ingredients list, but I always assumed that other people knew how to do the same.
Do we take the cynical approach and assume that these plaintiffs are just out for money? Or do we take the elitist approach and assume these people are so easily fooled and truly don’t know any better? Are we as a society truly becoming too illiterate and lazy to read a food label?

I can”t believe we are honestly this easily misled. Jolly Ranchers are not made with real fruit, and neither are Froot Loops. Skittles are not made with real rainbows. If you want real fruit, try real fruit.

TIPS: Please, please, PLEASE take 30 seconds to glance at the first 5 ingredients on the INGREDIENTS LIST. Take another 5 seconds to glance over the Nutrition Facts for the ##% Juice claim.

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