FDA Orders Coke To Drop Health Claims

dietcokeplusIt 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/

For the full story, click here and here

10 thoughts on “FDA Orders Coke To Drop Health Claims”

  1. Since when has any carbonated sugary beverage ever been healthy?

    You may as well take a multi-vitamin while drinking a soda. It seems to give nearly the same results!

  2. FFLEO,

    I’m just trying to figure out what a “reference food” means in this context. But that picture is pretty cool!!!

  3. Since when is the FDA concerned about health issues?? Did the Coke company forget their annual contribution to the Republican Party?

  4. JT, you should have emailed in to your gastronomy expert – me!

    I don’t know what cut of beef you chose. I am guessing a tenderloin or something rendered ‘lean’ which would not render a lot of fat ie
    the ‘juicy bits’ with which to make tasty gravy. That’s admirable.

    There are ways to compensate, too!

    You could have done a classic ‘Au poivre’ with cognac and peppercorns, including Jamaican allspice with a splash of cream, and/or added ‘beefy’ flavor with mushrooms and ‘interest’ with fresh herbs.

    Roast beef is delicious all by itself, but the Yorkshire pudding needs a little ‘somethin’ somethin’ 😉

  5. Jill,

    Spotting the Grim Reaper “likeness” at the bottom rim of the coke bottle was good–I did not notice it. Reminded me of Homeland Security(?)Chertoff’s image.

    I sure am glad it was not the “image” of the virgin Mary or there would be a “run” on vitamin B coke or at least a high-dollar E-bay bid.

    Now, if JT could “spot” (imagine?) a supernatural image of Christendom in some gravy drippings, then such food would be blessed for consumption.

  6. I’m confused. Didn’t the Vulcans give up war several centuries ago? It all sounds great. I’m glad the kids had a blast and I’m not ratting on you to Michael Pollan! (He would approve of your beef so good thing that was on the menu.) I bet it was delicious!

  7. In this case the FDA is striking legitimate claims from a manufacturer about real vitamin content. It’s as if receiving vitamin fortification in Cocoa Puffs is fine, but not if vitamins are delivered in a soda. What’s the difference? And as JT asks, shouldn’t the market decide which succeeds?

    If we must have an FDA it would be better if they focused on outright fraudulent statements from manufacturers. In particular, the FDA looks away from hundreds of “natural” products now making miracle cure and diet claims. St. John’s wort is just one example of preparations where many consumers have paid for something never known to be more effective than a placebo. Some of these so-called natural products may actually being dangerous. Taking such unknowns is certainly risky.

  8. JT,

    Is that a picture of the grim reaper embedded at the base of that coke bottle? And no, you weren’t thinking when you gave them the vitamin laced coke. The cereal was already fortified and you could have given them an OD.

    1. Jill:

      Well, I feel particularly badly because Hostess Ho-Hos also show traces of vitamins, so I have been allowing them to use that as a substitute for cereal.

      In truth, the amount of sugar that they consumed at Christmas probably exceeded a Hostess and Coke meal. The combination was truly something to behold: a house full of cousins with nerf guns (including the awesome Vulcan nerf gun and thirty round nerf machine gun) with an endless supply of sugar and no required bedtime.

      However, my beef came out just right and the Yorkshire pudding was great (but late by tradition). My only regret was the gravy, which lacked a certain beefy-ness due to a lack of drippings.

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