By Katie Davis
In a federal lawsuit filed by advocacy groups, The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Praxis Project, they claim that that Coca-Cola and American Beverage Association (ABA) tried to cover up links between drinking sugary beverages and harmful health effects such as obesity and diabetes.
“We take our consumers and their health very seriously and have been on a journey to become a more credible and helpful partner in helping consumers manage their sugar consumption,” said Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers.
However, the lawsuit that was filed by the advocacy groups clearly shows that they do not believe that Coca-Cola or the ABA are serious about the health of their customers.”For years, Coca-Cola and the ABA have engaged in a pattern of deception to mislead and confuse the public ? about the scientific consensus that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” the groups said in their lawsuit.
In the lawsuit against Coca-Cola and ABA, the group said Coca-Cola spent $120 million between 2010 and 2015 to fund university research and two “front groups” that claimed to be independent, but published studies intended “to confuse and misrepresent the science.”
In the suit it is alleged that Coca-Cola used a “sophisticated and multi-faceted” marketing plan to secretly fund biased studies to undermine research that documented the harmful effects of drinking sugary beverages and then used deceptive ads aimed at children and other consumers.
The group asked the court to require Coca-Cola and the ABA to re-tool their marketing, disclose their files on their products’ health effects, and fund a consumer education campaign on the detriments of sugary drinks.
This is the latest of many challenges that have faced the beverage giant as several cities have used beverage taxes on its products along with universities and other educational institutions and sports venues banning soft drinks or discouraging consumption. The beverage industry has successfully challenged several of those efforts including a recent industry lawsuit that scuttled a drink size limit in New York.