DPSG did not admit it was at fault

DPSG did not admit it was at fault

Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) has agreed to drop antioxidant claims from its 7UP range in the US and stop adding vitamin E after settling a court case with a health group.

The Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed a lawsuit in November claiming that fruit images on 7UP labels give the impression the antioxidants come from this source. However, according to the centre, the only antioxidant in the product comes from the added vitamin E.

Yesterday (22 July), DPSG said in the settlement it will remove and refrain from the use of vitamins and antioxidant labelling on its regular, diet cherry, mixed berry and pomegranate 7UP flavours.

The company also agreed to pay US$5,000 as well as legal fees of $237,500. It said the settlement did not equal an admission of the allegations or that it was at fault, according to a court document shown on the CSPI's website.

CSPI's litigation director Steve Gardner said the result is a “big plus for consumers”. 

“Soda is not a health food, and should not be marketed as a healthy source of antioxidants or other nutrients,” Gardner said. “It's to the credit of Dr Pepper Snapple Group that it carefully considered these concerns, and worked collaboratively to resolve the dispute without further litigation. The end result is a big plus for consumers.”

A spokesperson for DPSG said: "CSPI filed its suit against the company in late 2012 after DPS had already begun remaking Cherry 7UP. The company removed the antioxidants to make the formula and label consistent with the rest of the 7UP line. The reformulated Cherry 7UP hit the market in early 2013 and will continue to be sold in regular and diet versions. As a result, claims brought by CSPI have been withdrawn. While we disagree with CSPI on the merit and substance of their claim, we both agreed this resolved the matter.

Last week, a federal judge in the US told the Coca-Cola Co a class action lawsuit brought by the CPSI over its Vitaminwater brand should go ahead. The CPSI accuse the company of making “deceptive and unsubstantiated” claims, such as the product being a healthy alternative to water and sugary soft drinks.