Federal regulators have chastised Coca-Cola for inappropriate nutritional claims on the label of its popular soft drink, Diet Coke Plus.
In a letter, the FDA objected to the beverage’s tag line claiming the stuff is “Diet Coke with Vitamins and Minerals.”
Apparently, Diet Coke Plus doesn’t have enough vitamins and minerals to justify the “plus” descriptor. To qualify as “plus,” foods must contain 10% or more nutrients than comparable products, according to the Associated Press.
The FDA wants Coca-Cola to change the labeling for Diet Coke Plus and revert to the agency in 2 weeks with a plan to do so.
Coca-Cola said it will address the matter this month, but for now it seems likely to spurn the agency’s request. “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,” Coke spokesman Scott Williamson told the AP.
Diet Coke Plus hit supermarkets in March, 2007, trumpeted as a calorie-free cola packed with B vitamins, magnesium and zinc.
Beverages enriched with homeopathic doses of vitamins and minerals generate billions of dollars annually for soft-drink purveyors. Products range from energy drinks with ginkgo and ginseng to calcium-fortified OJ.
The FDA will endorse health claims on food labels once scientists verify they help prevent illness. For example the FDA says it’s OK for oatmeal products to state “may reduce risk of heart disease” on their labels.
When the FDA dispatches warning letters to companies for failing to adhere to manufacturing and marketing regulations, the letters are not legally binding, so for Coke officials there’s no sense getting bent out of shape so soon after the holidays.