The Food and Drug Administration says advertising for two green tea beverages is misleading and make unfounded medical claims.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, regulators have warned the makers of Canada Dry Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale and Lipton Green Tea 100% Naturally Decaffeinated beverages they must change marketing and labels of those products.
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group makes the Canada Dry product, which claims to be “enhanced” with antioxidants. Because the drink is caffeinated however, the FDA considers it a snack food and therefore can not have any nutritional fortification.
Also, in a letter to Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, the FDA said ingredients allegedly containing antioxidants “are not nutrients with recognized antioxidant activity.”
Unilever Inc. is the maker of the Lipton Green Tea product, and has also been informed that its marketing materials for the product are misleading and make false claims.
Unilever claims its Lipton green tea product is the same as other green tea, and that green tea consumption has been linked to a reduction in cholesterol levels among heart disease sufferers.
Because the company attempts to claim the product has medicinal values, the FDA considers that product a drug and therefore is subject to regulator approval just like any other drug.
Unilever would have to conduct expensive clinical trials hoping they prove that consuming their product actually reduces cholesterol among heart disease patients. Instead, the company will alter its message.
These letters to food makers are the latest in an FDA crackdown on misleading advertising of products purporting to contain health benefits. Earlier this year, the agency sent letters to 17 manufacturers over claims made on 22 different products.
LA Times is skeptical of the FDA’s follow-up effort, noting that 12 of the 17 manufacturers who were warned in March about their labels have failed to change any of them, based on the newspaper’s glance of store shelves near its Washington, D.C., bureau.