Tag Archives soda/soft drink

Big Red, Inc., a beverage company owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Catawissa Bottling Co., alleging that the company packages its Big Ben cream soda too similarly to Big Red’s red cream soda product. Big Red, Inc. v. Catawissa Bottling Co., Inc., No. 15-1423 (N.D. Tex., filed March 6, 2015). Big Red cites as distinctive its “consistent product packaging, which is unified by a central configuration: Two single syllable words, ‘BIG RED,” are featured prominently on the center of a label and positioned between stylized text or small accents. The label is then imposed on a clear, wide shouldered bottle with a tapered neck that angles smoothly towards the collar.” Big Ben “is artificially colored to an identical shade of red,” Big Red argues, and “is marketed in product packaging that is nearly identical.” Big Red alleges federal and state trademark and…

University of Cambridge researchers report that replacing one soft drink per day with water or unsweetened coffee/tea reduced the incidence of diabetes by 14 to 25 percent in a prospective cohort of 25,639 adults enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Laura O’Connor, et al., “Prospective associations and population impact of sweet beverage intake and type 2 diabetes, and effects of substitutions with alternative beverages,” Diabetologia, May 2015. Funded by Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK, the study relied on food diaries completed over 11 years of follow-up, during which time 874 participants developed type 2 diabetes. The findings evidently show a 22-percent increase in diabetes risk per additional daily serving of soft drink, sweetened milk beverage or artificially sweetened beverage (ASB)—although the association with ASB consumption disappeared when researchers accounted for body mass index and waist girth as markers of obesity. As the authors observed in a May…

A California federal court has dismissed a lawsuit arguing that PepsiCo Inc. should provide medical monitoring for a class of Diet Pepsi or Pepsi One purchasers because the company does not warn consumers that 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), a compound in caramel coloring, has allegedly been linked to potential health risks in rodent studies. Riva v. PepsiCo, Inc., No. 14-2020 (N.D. Cal., order entered March 4, 2015). The case was severed from a consolidated class action after the plaintiffs decided to pursue medical monitoring and personal injury claims not included in the consolidated action. Information about the case’s transfer of venue appears in Issue 523 of this Update. The court determined that the plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue the claim because “they have not established that the alleged risk of bronchioloalveolar cancer (for which they seek lung scans and testing) is both credible and substantial.” The studies cited as support for the…

A joint study by Consumer Reports and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future claims that 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) exposures “associated with average rates of soft drink consumption pose excess cancer risks exceeding one case per 1,000,0000 exposed individuals, which is a common acceptable risk goal used by U.S. federal regulatory agencies.” Tyler Smith, et al., “Caramel Color in Soft Drinks and Exposure to 4-Methylimidazole: A Quantitative Risk Assessment,” PLOS One, February 2015. Researchers apparently used ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to estimate 4-MEI concentrations in 12 beverages purchased in California and New York City, then assessed exposure levels based on data obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, California Environmental Protection Agency Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment (OEHHA) and U.S. Census Bureau. In addition to ranking 4-MEI concentrations by brand, product and geographic location, the study authors calculated the lifetime average daily dose and lifetime excess cancer…

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has published Sugary Drink FACTS 2014, a report funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that targets trends in beverage advertising to children. Claiming that companies spent $866 million on advertising for sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) in 2013, the report argues that even though youth-oriented TV programs and websites showed fewer SSB ads in 2013 than in 2010, the advertising available “is still overwhelmingly for unhealthy drinks.” The authors point out that as SSB advertising on children’s websites declined by 72 percent, “the popularity of energy drinks and regular soda brands on social media increased exponentially from 2011 to 2014.” According to the report, energy drink and regular soda brands now represent 84 percent of the 300 million Facebook likes for the brands included in the analysis, 89 percent of 11 million Twitter followers, and 95 percent of 1.8 billion YouTube views. In…

In a 10-4 vote, the Navajo Nation Council has approved a tax on “junk” foods sold on the largest reservation in the United States. If President Ben Shelly signs the measure into law, the Healthy Dine Nation Act of 2014 would apply to items like cookies, chips and soft drinks, and the revenue generated would be directed to a fund supporting farmers markets, the planting of vegetable gardens, purchase of exercise equipment, and other health-focused projects. Shelly evidently vetoed similar legislation earlier in 2014, reportedly saying that he supported the goals of the tax initiative but questioned its implementation. Proponents of the tax reportedly cite the high rates of diabetes among American Indians and Alaska Natives—the highest among U.S. racial and ethnic groups—as the main reason to pass the legislation. See Associated Press, November 15, 2014.   Issue 546

Calling Berkeley, California, voters’ recent passage of a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) a “victory for the health of Americans,” Australia’s Rethink Sugary Drink Campaign is urging state and local governments to enact comparable measures. The initiative is a partnership among the groups Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Australia and Heart Foundation (Victoria). “Australia is among the top 10 countries for per capita consumption of soft drinks,” Cancer Council Australia’s Craig Sinclair said. “Research shows that a retail price increase of around 20 percent would be the most effective in reducing the consumption of these sugar-laden drinks.” The Campaign asserts that SSB consumption is linked to a variety of weight-related health issues and also champions state and local regulations to (i) limit children’s exposure to SSB marketing; (ii) restrict the sale of SSBs in primary and secondary schools; and (iii) reduce the availability of SSB sales in workplaces, government offices, health…

A recent study has purportedly linked sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption to accelerated cell aging, estimating that “daily consumption of a 20-ounce soda was associated with 4.6 years of additional biological aging.” Cindy Leung, et al., “Soda and Cell Aging: Associations Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Leukocyte Telomere Length in Healthy Adults From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys," American Journal of Public Health, October 2014. University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) researchers apparently analyzed stored DNA from more than 5,000 adults enrolled in the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which included 24-hour dietary recall assessments. According to a UCSF press release, the study authors reported that “telomeres—the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells—were shorter in the white blood cells of survey participants who reported drinking more soda.” Although this effect paralleled the telomere shortening allegedly seen in smokers, the consumption of…

Georgetown public health law professors opine in the September 15, 2014, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that New York’s high court, in striking down the New York City Board of Health’s sugary drink portion size rule, could have effectively chilled “local innovation, given local agencies’ unique position to devise innovative solutions to urgent health concerns.” More information about the court’s ruling appears in Issue 528 of this Update. The authors contend that the court narrowly construed the board’s authority which “ignored its rich historical legacy” and failed to consider that “[w]ith the epidemiologic transition from infectious to noncommunicable diseases, today’s salient threats include poor diet, physical inactivity, and smoking,” matters that they believe should be within the board’s purview. Noting how tobacco control has involved a series of interventions, including tax increases, marketing restrictions and public smoking bans, they suggest that while “[the] portion cap,…

According to a news source, the Center for Environmental Health has filed a lawsuit under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65), alleging that Reed’s Ginger Products fails to warn consumers about the caramel-coloring chemical 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) purportedly present in its soft drinks. Ctr. for Envtl. Health v. Reed’s, Inc., (Cal. Super. Ct., Alameda Cty., filing date unknown). In a June 26, 2014, 60-day notice, the center claimed that the company had violated the law since January 2012, stating, “No clear and reasonable warning is provided with these products regarding the carcinogenic hazards associated with 4-MEI exposure.” Prop. 65, a voter-approved law, requires warnings to consumers about exposures to substances known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive hazards and allows private individuals or organizations to enforce it. See Courthouse News Service, September 11, 2014.   Issue 537

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