It turns out that Diet Coke is not a health drink.
The Food and Drug Administration has ordered Coca-Cola Company to change its labels for its “plus” line of drinks, which refer to their vitamin and mineral content. Coca-Cola has been marketing Diet Coke Plus as “a good source of vitamins B3, B6, and B12, and the minerals zinc and magnesium.”
I feel like an idiot in having the kids pour Diet Coke on their cereal every morning. The FDA letter gives the company 15 days to correct the violation.
One basis for the objection is that such claims can only be used on products that at least 10 percent additional nutrients or vitamins from other products. There are also objections to the lack of information to support the claim.
One of the stated reasons, however, is a bit hard to understand: “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 carbonated beverages.” I would think that we would be in favor of any improvement in snack foods and carbonated beverages. I can the agency refusing to allow such products to claim health benefits for minor additions. However, if a drink has a substantial increase in vitamins, I do not understand why the company cannot take credit for the difference. This would appear a matter for the consumer and the market to decide. The key is to require a substantial level of additives and accurate disclosures before a label can make the claim. Then, if consumers want to “live on the Coke side of life,” they can make their own choices.
For the FDA letter, click here/