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The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Pom Wonderful after the company sued Coca-Cola over their “misleading” pomegranate juice product. The 8-0 ruling, with Justice Stephen Breyer excusing himself from the vote, proved a great success for the pomegranate company and a blow to Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola introduced its “pomegranate blueberry” juice in 2007. The juice, however, only contains 0.3 percent pomegranate juice and 0.2 percent blueberry juice. The remainder of the drink contains apple and grape juices with 0.1 percent raspberry juice, according to The Miami Herald.
The small amount of actual pomegranate in the juice product stirred Pom Wonderful leaders, who considered the label to be false advertisement. Pom Wonderful attorney, Seth Waxman, denounced the product stating that the total amount of pomegranate juice in the drink was the equivalent of a teaspoon being poured into a half gallon of apple and grape juice, according to USA Today.
Coca-Cola fought the suit, stating that the Federal Drug Administration allows companies to name their products any of the items that are included in the product, even the minority contents. The company argued that the FDA had the power in this situation. An appellate court previously ruled in Coke’s favor, stating that the FDA’s approval sufficed. Nevertheless, Supreme Court Justices disagreed, claiming that the role of the FDA is simply to monitor the health and safety of products, as reported by USA Today.
Pom Wonderful sued Coca-Cola under another law known as the Lanham Act, which gives competitors the ability to sue over misleading products. One of the justices, Anthony Kennedy, announced that even he was tricked by the advertising of Coke’s product. He also stated that the Lanham law is needed to protect citizens when it comes to food and drink labeling.