Coca-Cola Co has defended its claim to have taken full calorie, sparkling soft drinks out of schools in North America, following a complaint from campaign group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

CSPI has sent a letter to Coca-Cola Co CEO Muhtar Kent, accusing the soft drinks giant of misleading consumers.

Coca-Cola Co said in a recent advert that it has removed full calorie, sparkling soft drinks from schools in North America, but CSPI said that the firm has not done so in Mexico - which it said is technically a part of North America.

In a letter to Kent, dated 16 November and seen by just-drinks, CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson said: "While much progress has been made in schools in the US and Canada, Coca-Cola has been promoted in Mexican elementary schools as a source of hydration after children engage in physical activity."

In defence of the advert, a Coca-Cola Co spokesperson told just-drinks last night: "Our global business is organised into geographic groups and we define our "North America" operations to be the US and Canada. Our Mexico operations are part of the Latin America business unit."

She added: "In the future we will refer specifically to our efforts in schools in the US."

The US soft drinks industry, fronted by the American Beverage Association, agreed to remove full calorie soft drinks from schools in 2006, following pressure from CSPI and a network of lawyers and health professionals across the country.

Since then, Coca-Cola Co said that beverage calories consumed in US schools has fallen by 58%.

CSPI continues to pressure soft drinks firms to remove full calorie drinks from schools worldwide.