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Coca-Cola in red over 'misleading' orange labels?

10 April 2012

It could be a storm in a glass of OJ, but the allegation by Randall Davis of Chicago that Coca-Cola is misleading customers by selling heavily processed and flavoured drink as 'a pure natural orange juice', could create waves beyond the iconic beverage manufacturer.

Coca-Cola may find itself in a difficult situation. According to a quote by a law professor in the Times of London, if it takes up the fight, and defends its labels, it could risk a jury finding against it. That, in turn, could open the floodgates for several more claims.

Randall Davis argues that the orange juice simply cannot be pure because it has been processed - effectively 'manipulated' - to ensure an extended shelflife.
Coca-Cola, meanwhile, has responded to the case, as reported in the Times of London: ''This lawsuit has nothing to do with misleading consumers and everything to do with lining class-action lawyers' pockets. It is a meritless case against which we will vigorously defend ourselves.''

In fact, the most recent action is mirrored by one in January. In that one, Angelena Lewis from California filed against Pepsi-Co's Tropicana brand, leading to the drinks industry pointing out that copycat lawsuits often spring up in different parts of the US.

Whatever the merits of Randall Davis' case, it will be interesting to see how it develops, and whether it has any long term impact on the way Coca-Cola labels its products.

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