Tropicana Settles FTC ChargesTropicana Settles FTC Charges
July 18, 2005
Tropicana Settles FTC Charges
The Federal TradeCommission (FTC) announced it settled its complaint with Tropicana Products Inc.over charges the company used unsubstantiated claims in marketing its HealthyHeart orange juice. Under terms of the settlement, Tropicana isbanned from using such health claims in the future, unless the claims aresubstantiated by credible scientific evidence.
Between 2002 and early 2004, Tropicana, the Chicago-basedsubsidiary of PepsiCo, ran television and print ads in national media outletsincludingNewsweek and TheNew York Times, claiming that drinking two to threecups of its Healthy Heart orange juice would lower systolic blood pressure by 10points, raise HDL cholesterol by 21 percent, improve cholesterol ratio by 16percent, increase folate levels by 45 percent and lower homocysteine levels by11 percent. FTC contended these claims were not substantiated, and statements ofclinical support for the claims were false.
Orange juice contains many nutrients important to a healthydiet, and advertising can be an important source of information about the healthbenefits of foods, said Lydia Parnes, director of FTCs Bureau of ConsumerProtection. But it is essential that such advertising be truthful. In this case, Tropicanas claims went well beyond itsscientific support.
In addition to avoiding claims similar to the above offendingclaims, Tropicana is further prohibited from making claims that any food willhave an effect on the risk of heart disease, stroke or cancer, unlesssubstantiated by reliable science. The company also cannot misrepresent any testor study results and must follow certain record keeping procedures to assist FTCcompliance monitoring.
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