The Coca-Cola Co. has agreed to publish corrective adverts in Australia after a ruling from the country's Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The original print adverts, which ran in the country in October last year, said that claims that Coca-Cola makes you fat, rots your teeth and is packed with caffeine, were "myths".

The ACCC ruled today (2 April) that the ads had the potential to mislead consumers by representing that Coca-Cola cannot contribute to weight gain and obesity or to tooth decay, that 250ml of Diet Coca-Cola contains one half of the amount of caffeine as that contained in 250ml of tea, and that a responsible parent can include Coca-Cola in a family diet without any regard to the potential for weight gain or tooth decay arising from consuming Coca-Cola.

"After seeing the 'Myth-Busting' campaign, the ACCC was immediately concerned about the misleading messages it was likely to send to consumers and in particular, to mothers who are often the decision makers about family nutrition," the ACCC said.

"Coke's messages were totally unacceptable, creating an impression which is likely to mislead that Coca-Cola cannot contribute to weight gain, obesity and tooth decay. They also had the potential to mislead parents about the potential consequences of consuming Coca Cola."

Coca-Cola South Pacific, Coca-Cola's unit in the region, said today that its intention had been "to provide information to help balance the debate about whether Coca-Cola can be a part of your life".

"We certainly did not intend our message to be misleading and we have been working with the ACCC to address its concerns," said Gareth Edgecombe, managing director of Coca-Cola South Pacific. "The ACCC were concerned we oversimplified some complex topics and we acknowledge we should have provided more information. As a result, we have agreed to publish a further advertisement to clarify parts of our message.

"We do not want to be ambiguous, and to ensure there is no room for misinterpretation, we will be publishing our 'Setting The Record Straight' advertisement."

The advert will run in The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Courier Mail, Adelaide Advertiser, The West Australian, and the Hobart Mercury.

Coca-Cola South Pacific also said that it will undertake a review of its trade practices compliance programme.