Former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal reportedly plans to endorse a new
line of “low calorie sodas” that critics say promote obesity and other health
problems. The Soda Shaq line is manufactured by AriZona beverages and will
be distributed by convenience retailer 7-Eleven at stores nationwide. A press
release announcing the product states that Soda Shaq contains no artificial
flavors, colors or preservatives, is made with pure cane sugar and contains
only 90 calories per serving, allowing fans to “satisfy their sweet tooth without
the guilt from the very first clean and refreshing sip.”

Consumer advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI),
however, claims that each 24-ounce can of Soda Shaq contains three servings,
or 270 calories, and 17 teaspoons of sugar per can. “Despite the implausible
assertion on the label that the non-resealable vessel contains three servings,
a single can of Soda Shaq cream soda contains about two to three times as
much sugar as the [American] heart association recommends for a whole day,”
said CSPI.

Noting that as recently as last year, O’Neal professed concern about diabetes
and his family members’ struggle with the disease, and even stated on a news
program that he tries to “stay away from the sodas,” CSPI Executive Director
Michael Jacobson has called on the retired athlete to reconsider whether
he wants to promote a product that allegedly contributes to various health
problems. “Clearly, Shaq knows better,” said Jacobson. “He has said he avoids
soda himself, and worries about obesity and diabetes. But now he’s using his
name, face and reputation to make those health problems even bigger. It’s
shameful hypocrisy, presumably motivated by money.” See CSPI News Release,
July 17, 2013.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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