Coca-Cola has hit back at claims that advertisements for its Vitaminwater are “dangerously misleading”

Coca-Cola has hit back at claims that advertisements for its Vitaminwater are “dangerously misleading”

The Coca-Cola Co has hit back at claims by a US consumer watchdog that advertisements for its Vitaminwater are "dangerously misleading".

In a formal complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this month, the National Consumer League (NCL) pointed to print and television adverts that suggest Vitaminwater can "replace flu shots or prevent illness". NCL claimed that Coca-Cola is "preying on consumers' health concerns to sell a high-calorie product".

Sally Greenberg, executive director of NCL, said today (3 February): "These advertising claims are not only untrue; they constitute a public health menace. Stopping these Vitaminwater claims, which contradict information by the Centers for Disease Control and other public health authorities, should be a top FTC priority."

The NCL complaint also urged the FTC to "halt deceptive label statements" for the beverage that describe the product as a "nutrient-enhanced water beverage" and that claim "vitamins + water = all you need".

NCL criticised Coca-Cola for making the claim when bottles of Vitaminwater contain 125 calories.

However, in a statement today, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola said: "Vitaminwater is a great tasting, hydrating beverage with essential vitamins and water and people can clearly see from the labels, which are FDA compliant, what's in every bottle. Vitaminwater has always had a fun, humorous and engaging personality -- and our ads reflect that."

Coca-Cola has already been banned by the UK's advertising watchdog from using the word "nutritious" to describe its Vitaminwater brand. And the company had to defend the brand in Australia last month after questions were raised by consumer publication Choice over the health credentials of the brand.