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7UP drops "all natural" claim after CSPI threatens lawsuit

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 by: Jessica Fraser
Tags: 7UP, soft drinks, junk food


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(NewsTarget) Cadbury-Schweppes announced last week that it would stop marketing its lemon-lime 7UP soda -- which contains high-fructose corn syrup -- as "All Natural," after consumer watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) threatened a lawsuit.

According to a CSPI press release, Cadbury-Schweppes instead plans to emphasize the ingredients in 7UP "for which there is no debate" over their "all natural" status. Such ingredients will exclude factory-manufactured sweetener high-fructose corn syrup, the CSPI said.

In return for Cadbury-Schweppes droppings its "All Natural" claim, the CSPI announced it would likewise drop its planned lawsuit against the company for allegedly making misleading health claims to boost 7UP sales.

"We are pleased that Cadbury-Schweppes has fixed what was a flawed and deceptive marketing campaign and that this issue was resolved without our actually suing," said Steve Gardner, litigation director for CSPI. "We look forward to seeing exactly which words the company uses to describe its ingredients on labels and on marketing materials, but trust they won't imply that high-fructose corn syrup is 'natural,'" he said.

High-fructose corn syrup -- unlike natural table sugar, which is produced from sugar cane or sugar beets -- is manufactured through an industrial chemical process that turns starch molecules into fructose and glucose molecules, according to the CSPI's release.

"To call 7UP 'all natural' is an insult to the intelligence of the consumers," said consumer advocate Mike Adams, author of "The Five Soft Drink Monsters," a guide that teaches consumers how to end soda and caffeine addictions.

"Thanks to surging demand for healthier products, food and beverage companies are attempting to use terms like 'natural' and 'organic' to mean anything," Adams said. "But clearly, a highly refined, extracted sweetener like high-fructose corn syrup is not natural."

CSPI also announced it may file suit against Coca-Cola and Nestle over possible deceptive labeling of its Enviga green tea weight-loss beverage, and against Kellogg and Viacom for allegedly marketing junk food to kids.

The Center's litigation -- and threats of litigation -- has spurred major food and beverage manufacturers to cease deceptive labeling campaigns, the release said, including Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Quaker, KFC and Procter & Gamble.

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