Lawsuit claims Coca-Cola misled consumers on sugary soda health risks.
In 2015, it was revealed that the corporate giant had heavily funded and been involved in the operation of the research group Global Energy Balance Network. Coca-Cola aimed to help establish the group as a “reputable scientific source to counter “public health extremists.” The company has starkly tried to avoid claims that their products are unhealthy.
It is based on these findings that the lawsuit claims that, “for years, [the] defendants have engaged in a pattern of deception to mislead and confuse the public (and governmental entities that bear responsibility for the public health) about the scientific consensus that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”
The industry group, American Beverage Association (ABA) is the co-defendant in the lawsuit. The ABA continues to argue that obesity is a “complex condition.” Further asserting that as obesity and diabetes rates continue to rise, that soda consumption is dropping.
CSPI wants the ABA and Coca-Cola to make some changes. They want marketing to disclose the health risks of sugary drinks, while stopping ads directed at children. They also want the groups to disclose file “indicating the potential health implications.” Plus, the CSPI would like for Coca-Cola and the ABA to fund a public health campaign.
The ABA said in a statement that “America’s beverage companies know we have an important role to play in addressing our nation’s health challenges. That’s why we’re engaging with health groups and community organizations to drive a reduction in the sugar and calories Americans get from beverages.”
Coca-Cola has called the suit “legally and factually meritless.”