NEWARK (CN) – Coca-Cola Co. defrauded consumers by misbranding its “Diet Coke Plus” as though it were healthy to drink, and failed to act on an FDA demand to fix the misbranding, a class action claims in Federal Court.
The complaint states: “On December 10, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to Mr. Muhtar Kent, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, regarding the contents of Diet Coke Plus 20FL OZ (1.25 PT) 591ml. The product has been sold to consumers not only in the State of New Jersey, but throughout the United States. In the letter (attached hereto and marked Exhibit ‘A’), the FDA charged Coke with ‘misbranding’ because the term ‘Plus’ mischaracterized the ingredients contained within this carbonated beverage.
“Further, the FDA stated that it was not appropriate for Coke to give the impression that the Diet Coke Plus product, a carbonated beverage, was a healthy option for consumers. ‘Your product diet Coke Plus is a carbonated beverage. The policy on fortification in 21 CFR 104.20(a) states that the FDA does not consider it appropriate to fortify snack foods such as a carbonated beverage.’
“Finally, the FDA ordered Coke to ‘take prompt action to correct these violations.’ At the time of the filing of this action, Coke had not taken any action to address the misleading label on its Diet Coke Plus product.
“The Diet Coke Plus product was launched by Coke in March 2007, and has been purchased by Plaintiffs in this case, by other consumers in New Jersey and throughout the United States.”
Plaintiffs demand an injunction and treble damages for consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, intentional misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation. They are represented by John Ward of Summit, N.J.