Coca-Cola Sued Over Vitaminwater Labels

Court says class-action suit can move forward

A long-running lawsuit against Coca-Cola for deceptive labeling on its Glaceau Vitaminwater beverages can move forward as a class action, a court ruled on Friday.

The suit was filed in 2009 by customers in New York and California, along with the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The plaintiffs claim that Vitaminwater is a sugar-filled soft drink that has been deceptively labeled and marketed as a health drink.

"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," said the CSPI's executive director, Michael Jacobson, to ABC News.

In 2010 a judge ruled that Vitaminwater had used the word "healthy" on its labels in violation of FDA labeling rules. And this weekend another judge said the case could go forward as a class-action suit, but that the plaintiffs could only litigate to change how the products are marketed and labeled. They cannot sue for damages, as the suit previously intended.

"We are very gratified that Magistrate Judge Levy recommended denying class certification as to all monetary damages claims alleged by plaintiffs," Coca-Cola said in a statement. "We firmly believe the plaintiffs' claims are without merit and will ultimately be rejected. Vitaminwater is a great tasting, hydrating beverage with essential vitamins and water—and labels clearly showing ingredients and calorie content."

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