The drink’s producer, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, has dropped the nutrient from several 7-Up varieties following a lawsuit that it misrepresented the benefits of drinking the Vitamin E-infused beverages. Vitamin E is known to have antioxidant properties.
The sodas affected by the change are regular and diet Cherry Antioxidant, Mixed Berry Antioxidant and Pomegranate Antioxidant.
The conflict began in November, when the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a class action lawsuit against the drink maker on behalf of a California man who purchased 7-Up drinks with Vitamin E. According to the lawsuit, the man was not aware that the products contained only a small amount of Vitamin E and did not contain juices from the fruits advertised on the sodas’ labels.
“Non-diet varieties of 7-Up, like other sugary drinks, promote obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, and other serious health problems, and no amount of antioxidants could begin to reduce those risks,” CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson said in a November press release. “Adding an antioxidant to a soda is like adding menthol to a cigarette—neither does anything to make an unhealthy product healthy.”
Not long after CSPI’s filing, Dr Pepper Snapple Group announced that it would phase out products with antioxidants by early 2013. It said the decision was not connected to the lawsuit.
But according to CSPI’s communications director, Jeff Cronin, the company would not put anything in writing. “That’s why we kept pursuing litigation,” Cronin told The Huffington Post. “This basically gives that [decision] legal force.”
The Dr Pepper Snapple Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The settlement also requires Dr Pepper Snapple Group to pay $5,000 to CSPI and $237,500 in attorney’s fees.
CSPI can be spearheading another lawsuit against Coca-Cola pertaining to what it says are misrepresented health and fitness claims about its popular Vitaminwater range. “After we sued, a great deal of the worst claims disappeared, ” Cronin said of the case.
Will CSPI go after other soft drinks available? Cronin didn’t rule out the chance, saying the organization keeps tabs on new products that come available.