Ronald Sowizrol brought the nationwide class action for damages against The Coca-Cola Company in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois last Thursday, March 18. It the latest in a series of copycat actions attacking the soda giant that began in August 2013.
Coke uses phosphoric acid in its flagship product as an acidulant to reduce micro-organism growth and to add tartness.
“Faced with clear evidence it was losing market share because consumers increasingly preferred beverages without artificial flavoring and chemical preservatives,” Coke responded by providing consumers with they wanted, a natural and healthy drink, Sowizrol said.
Coke attacks 'meritless lawsuits' that mislead no-one
The only problem from Sowizrol’s perspective, or that of his lawyers? Coke did so by allegedly deceiving consumers into thinking that Coca-Cola was natural and healthy when it actually contains artificial flavoring and chemical preservatives.
Coke strenuously denies these allegations. Susan Stribling, from the company's North American public affairs and communications team, sent us this statement today: "Since the first servings in 1886, Coca-Cola has had no artificial flavors or preservatives added. Our beverages are properly labeled in accordance with all applicable government regulations.
"These meritless lawsuits are a play by class action lawyers to profit under the pretense of protecting people. No one has been misled. This is simply a copycat of a complaint filed months ago, which we have moved to dismiss," she added.
‘Bad corporate citizenship’ alleged
“This choice by The Coca-Cola Company was not just an example of bad corporate citizenship – it also clearly violated federal and state laws specifically prohibiting the precise kind of misbranding and misleading behavior exhibited by The Coca-Cola Company,” Sowizrol claims.
Sales of the world’s most popular soft drink are “fueled by false and deceptive representations that Coca-Cola is not only a healthy product, but one free of artificial flavoring and chemical preservatives,” he adds.
Sowizrol says Coke was worried by falling CSD sales by 2008, and cites comment by Coke’s chief marketing and commercial officer (presumably Joseph Tripodi) at a November 2009 analyst day.